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NHS Oldham launches telehealth scheme for long-term patients

Tunstall Group : 10 January, 2012  (Application Story)
NHS Oldham and Oldham Council is partnering Tunstall to provide patients with advanced telehealth solutions that will support them in the management of their long-term conditions.
The programme will involve up to 150 patients who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), who will benefit from being supported in their own homes by Tunstall's telehealth solutions. COPD patients have been selected initially based on national evidence showing the benefits of telehealth for patients with long-term conditions.


The mymedic solution enables clinicians to remotely monitor vital signs including blood pressure, pulse rate, and blood oxygen levels on a daily basis.

Patients will also receive a personalised monitoring plan devised by a team of clinicians to meet their individual needs.


The new service is expected to help reduce the number of unplanned emergency hospital admissions, the number of visits patients need to make to GP surgeries, and the number of home visits made by clinicians.  This improves the quality of life for patients and their carers, and relieves pressure on NHS resources through early support and by helping them to better understand and manage their conditions.  


Dr Ian Wilkinson, who is a local GP and accountable officer for Oldham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We believe this new scheme is key to improving the way that long-term conditions are managed and will offer care closer to home. It means we can make sure the care that is provided is more efficient, while at the same time improving the effectiveness and the convenience of these services for our patients. This is an important opportunity for advanced technology to improve services and we are confident it will deliver improved health for patients."


The project is part of collaborative working between Oldham Council and NHS colleagues to progress local joint working around long-term conditions.   It will help develop a joined up approach to using telecare and telehealth solutions to enable people to live independently in their own homes.


The programme will initially run in a group of GP practices in the Chadderton area, with plans to then extend the service further.


David Cockayne, Tunstall's UK Health and Social Care Director, said: "The recent announcement of the initial results from the Department of Health's Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) pilot shows how efficient telehealth can be in reducing mortality rates by 45 percent, A and E attendances by 15 percent, and emergency admissions by 20 percent for patients with LTCs".


"This joint approach to telehealth is a further endorsement of the role of telehealth in transforming service delivery and delivering efficiency gains whilst improving the standard of care services available to patients. These patients will now be able to continue their lives with greater independence and with fewer constraints placed on them as a result of their condition."


It is estimated that there are over 8,000 patients with COPD in Oldham and by 2020; the total number of people living with long-term conditions is expected to rise by 13 percent.


A telehealth programme for people with COPD was introduced by NHS Tameside and Glossop in early 2011.  A patient enrolled on the Tunstall telehealth pilot said: "I think it is brilliant. It gives you peace of mind and you can keep a check on it yourself.  You don’t have to panic and don’t have to contact the Advanced Practitioner or the GP if it's not necessary because I feel more in control".
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