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“Telehealth” launches in Liverpool

8th June 2011
Heart failure patients in Liverpool are some of the first to test drive a new scheme where their health is monitored via a set top box.
 
The new technology sits on top of the television and patients make their own checks, such as blood pressure and weight, the results of which they send via broadband to
the team at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.
 
Called Telehealth, the technology allows patients with long-term health conditions to be managed and monitored in their own homes, with clinicians able to decide when they need face to attention.
 
Sam McPartland, Transformational Change Manager for North Mersey Health Informatics Services, who is working on the Telehealth programme said: “At the moment we have selected just a few patients for a pilot scheme. We are working with 50 heart failure patients who have been taught to monitor their own blood pressure and weight then send these results via the set top box to a central monitoring unit at LCH, where the data is checked by our Telehealth team.”
 
The weighing machine used has Bluetooth technology which sends patients’ results directly from the machine. For the blood pressure, patients take their own measurements then enter the values via a remote control into the set top box.
 
Bernie Cuthel, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “This new technology is all about empowering the patients to manage their conditions. It gives patients greater freedom, while ensuring that any problem they do have will be picked up immediately.
 
“It’s not just about monitoring your own vital statistics, the set top boxes have information on the condition the patient is suffering from and the best ways to deal with that condition, so essentially, rather than being purely in the hands of clinical staff, the patient and their carer can be more independent and take more charge of their own health.”
 
Anne Marie Howard, aheart failurenurse working on the scheme said: “There is considerable benefit to Telehealth monitoring, particularly for patients who are housebound, and can be empowered to monitor certain aspects of their condition. Currently the project is in its infancy, but has already alerted us to some potentially significant changes in patients’ clinical conditions.”
 
This new technology is being billed as one of the techniques the NHS can use to deal with the increasing pressure being put on health services by the UK’s aging population. 
 
Over the last 25 years the percentage of the population aged 65 and over increased from 15 per cent in 1984 to 16 per cent in 2009, an increase of 1.7 million people. It’s predicted that by 2031 there will be more than 14m Brits over 65 and as a result a massive increase in demand on health services.
 
Bernie Cuthel said: “Probably the biggest challenges the NHS faces is how to deal with the increasing strain on services from the UK’s aging population and this technology offers one way to manage patients with long-term conditions effectively, making sure that the people that need attention get it quickly while also freeing up resources which can be used to deal with increasing workloads.”
 
The Telehealth pilot is part of the North Merseyside ‘QIPP’ (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) programme, which involves the local NHS working together to improve efficiency and ensure the very best service for patients. A total of thirteen NHS organisations are involved in QIPP across Merseyside.

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Article Information

Title: âTelehealthâ launches in Liverpool
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 18827
Date Added: 8th Jun 2011

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