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Nottingham City Primary Care Trust deploys the UK’s largest mainstream telehealth system

Tunstall Group : 13 March, 2008  (Application Story)
Nottingham City Primary Care Trust (PCT) has launched of one of the UK’s largest mainstream deployments of telehealth solutions, to monitor people with long-term conditions in their own homes, delivering timely, preventative care and improving quality of life.
With around 22,000 hospital admissions per year in Nottingham linked to long-term conditions 40 percent of all hospital activity mainstreaming Telehealth will reduce hospital admissions and GP visits. The deployment will lessen the burden on primary and acute care providers and ensure NHS resources are used effectively.

The PCT will use Genesis DM monitors from leading Telehealth and Telecare specialist Tunstall to monitor around 800 people each year with long-term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. The approach supports independent living, promotes patient self-management and reduces the need for repeat hospital admissions.

The decision to deploy Telehealth across the city follows a successful 12-month pilot in 2007, which saw a reduction in hospital admissions, GP visits and matron and community nurse home visits, enabling primary and secondary care teams in Nottingham to make the best possible use of healthcare resources.

Sally Parker, head of adult services for Nottingham City PCT said: “Nottingham is the seventh most deprived city in the country. Mainstreaming Telehealth and making it an integral part of our care model will radically change the way patients are cared for in the community. Telehealth allows patients with chronic conditions to benefit from continuous monitoring whilst respecting their privacy, and crucially it educates them to be more aware of their own symptoms and to proactively manage them which is a vital step in reducing the burden on healthcare providers.”

Matt Marshall, director of health of Tunstall said: “Telehealth represents a clear win-win for patients and PCT. Being able to remotely triage patients helps staff prioritise visits, meaning those patients experiencing a critical change in their health receive more timely medical intervention. The landmark Telehealth deployment has the potential to change the lives of people with long-term conditions in Nottingham for the better.”

A key benefit of the Genesis DM monitor is that it can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual patient. As well as using the monitor to measure vital signs, the community matron will be able to programme the monitor to ask the patient a set of medical questions specific to their condition; this helps clinicians further determine the status of their patient’s condition.

The monitor will also be compatible with NHS IT systems, and once integration is completed patient data will be more visible and can be accessed and acted upon more easily and effectively within the PCT, facilitating an easier migration of records, as GPs will automatically receive a record of their patients’ measured data.

One patient, who has heart failure and a cardioverter defibrillator implant, uses a Genesis DM monitor to manage her weight. An increase in weight indicated by the equipment meant the community matron was able to change the patient’s medication. By being prescribed water tablets to stop fluid retention, which was causing the weight gain, the patient was prevented from being admitted to hospital.

During the pilot a community matron case managed the patients in order to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. A specialist team made up of occupational therapists, nurses and physiotherapists from primary care are currently working together with secondary care respiratory nurses to manage patients with more complex needs. Supported by Telehealth this will facilitate their timely discharge from hospital, freeing up valuable secondary care resources to redeploy to other key healthcare areas.

The monitors allow patients to measure their own weight, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and glucose levels, and also answer a series of questions to further determine their current condition. It then transmits the data to a community nurse to assess the information and provide medical intervention if needed. If necessary they will then refer the patient to their GP or will have them immediately transferred to hospital for emergency care.
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