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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Minister describes telehealth and telecare partnership as “Win Win Win
Article Type: News and events From: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Volume 13, Issue 3
Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to mainstreaming telehealth and telecare services, to help ensure a better quality of care and greater independence for people with long-term conditions.
During his keynote speech at the International Congress of Telehealth and Telecare in March 2012 run by The King’s Fund, Mr Burstow stated that an integrated care approach using telehealth and telecare solutions could save the NHS up to £1.2 billion over five years, improving the lives of three million people by increasing independence and reducing time spent in hospital. He pointed out that currently, seven out of ten in-patient beds are occupied by people with long-term conditions, with approximately 70p of every NHS pound being spent looking after them.
Paul Burstow MP said: “Few people buy an iPhone for cash up-front, they pay for it through a monthly contract. So why couldn’t a community nursing provider pay for a remote blood pressure monitor in a similar way? We’re already seeing exactly this in places like Gloucestershire, where the PCT is working with Tunstall, one of the largest telecare and telehealth companies.”
Tunstall covers the up-front costs such as clinical engagement, pathway re-design and training. They supply NHS Gloucestershire on a per-patient, per-month basis. Any cost savings the PCT makes through things such as reduced hospital admissions, can be re-invested back into frontline NHS services. It’s a win-win-win situation; NHS Gloucestershire avoids the need for large up-front costs, the supplier builds a relationship with a customer it would otherwise not have had and the patient gets their life back.
The Department of Health (DH) has been working with industry and medical professionals to raise awareness for the effectiveness of telehealth and telecare. The DH established the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme to evaluate how the use of telehealth and telecare services can support people with long-term health and care needs to live more independently.
Key findings from the WSD programme include a 15 per cent reduction in A&E visits, a 20 per cent reduction in emergency admissions, a 14 per cent reduction in elective admissions, and a 45 per cent reduction in mortality rates.