Telehealth services will start to benefit 100,000 people next year, Jeremy Hunt announced at an Age UK conference on 14 November 2012.
Telehealth uses information and telecommunications technologies to help people manage their condition at home. This gives them more control over their own care and frees them from a constant round of visits to doctors and hospitals.
Using the technology, people are able to take their own blood pressure, blood sugar and oxygen levels and send the results to a remote monitoring centre. Results allow people to control their care and medication at home. Data can also be automatically uploaded to medical centres. From the user’s point of view, some of this technology is the type they already use to manage their social and working lives, such as television set-top boxes and mobile phones. Patients who have used the technology speak of it improving their confidence, helping them nip problems in the bud, and allowing them to live more independently, even travelling abroad.
The commitment makes England the leading centre for telehealth outside of the US. The ambition is to have three million people benefitting from telehealth by 2017. This builds on the excellent work already happening throughout the NHS and in social care to help people with long-term conditions live well. It offers staff new opportunities to work with people to help them understand and manage their conditions and to live more independently.
Seven NHS and local authority ‘pathfinder’ organisations (including clinical commissioning groups) will pioneer new ways of working with technology companies to deliver services in 2013. These organisations are in: Worcestershire, Merseyside, North Yorkshire & York and Humber, Merseyside, South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, Kernow and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Kent & Medway, and Camden.
- Read the press release