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NHS Fife launches a two-year telehealth pilot for care for patients with CHF

Tunstall Group : 28 October, 2010  (Company News)
NHS Fife launches a two-year telehealth pilot involving up to 80 patients using Tunstall Healthcare’s advanced telehealth solutions to transform care for patients with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF).
The new service empowers them to self-manage their condition at home, improving their quality of life and reducing avoidable hospital admissions.

As part of the service, NHS Fife uses Tunstall’s icp integrated care platform, which includes the mymedic and icp triagemanager solutions, to support integrated, fully managed and patient-centred care.

The NHS Board is working with Fife Council to prevent unnecessary patient hospitalisation by taking an anticipatory approach to the care of people with long-term conditions.

Dr Suzanne Brannan, Clinical Lead for Telehealth Fife Primary Care NHS said: “We anticipate that this Telehealth Pilot will improve the quality of life for the enrolled patients with cardiac failure by allowing them to monitor their condition in the comfort of their own homes. The telemonitoring will allow Dr Francis, Consultant Cardiologist, and his team to identify a trend of deterioration, which will enable them to intervene before patients need to be admitted to hospital”.

Lorna Taggerty, eHealth Delivery Specialist for NHS Fife said: “Feedback from clinicians so far has been extremely positive and they have been very involved in setting up the service. We have benefited from the support of Tunstall in setting up the project and we are now looking forward to seeing the positive results Telehealth will bring to the community.”

Patients will be provided with a palm sized device, which can be used at home or away from home, to take their ECG recordings. These will then be transmitted via their mymedic unit to the icp triagemanager software for viewing by a clinician who is then able to identify possible arrhythmia events. The mymedic unit will also ask the patient a short series of questions relating to their health and wellbeing, and the answers to these, as well as the user’s blood pressure and weight readings, will also be sent to the clinician to provide a comprehensive picture of the patient’s health.

Having such early visibility of potential problems will help to reduce the patients’ trips to GP surgeries, avoid emergency admissions to hospital, and reduce the frequency of nurse home visits.; this lessens the burden on primary and acute care providers alike and ensures NHS resources are used effectively.

Over the two-year period 80 patients with CHF will receive Telehealth solutions on a rotation basis for a period of six months each. After this time it is hoped the patients, with the support of specialist nurses, will be better able to manage their own symptoms. The service will be manned by specialist nurses in the Cardiology Service.

NHS Fife will be capturing and analysing all relevant data and costs to determine the level of savings and benefits delivered by the initiative, and they will also monitor and measure the patient experience and satisfaction with the technology and service provided.
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