NHS defends £1.8m telehealth system

PCT assistant director of strategy Kerry Wheeler

A telehealth monitor

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , richard.catton@thepress.co.uk

HEALTH chiefs in North Yorkshire have defended buying thousands of expensive health systems which monitor patients in their own homes, despite the fact that only a fraction of the units are in use.

NHS North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) has spent almost £1.8 million on telehealth systems since 2009 but currently has only 670 patients using them, out of a stock of 2,120, The Press has learned.

The news comes as trust bosses gather this morning in York to announce where a number of spending cuts are to be made as the region faces a £19 million health deficit.

The trust tested 120 of the systems in 2009 and later decided to buy 2,000 more in phase two of the project, from April last year.

Jim Clark, head of North Yorkshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, said financing telehealth needed to be “sorted out”.

With North Yorkshire and York PCT set to be disbanded in April, and health spending handed over to GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), PCT assistant director of strategy Kerry Wheeler said there were “ongoing discussions” with all of the CCGs across the region on the management of patients on telehealth.

She said: “The vast majority of these units are deployed by NHS staff working in the community – providing care either close to or in people’s own homes. These services and the staff associated with them are managed by hospital trusts.

“I’d like to stress that nearly 1,200 patients in our area have benefited from using telehealth. The units have helped health professionals monitor patient’s medication, help them comply with medication regimes and educate them to manage their conditions better. A recent patient survey also showed telehealth was having a positive impact on family members and carers.”

Comments (5)

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10:53am Tue 22 Jan 13

roskoboskovic says...

they all manage to get that smug look to perfection.
they all manage to get that smug look to perfection. roskoboskovic
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Tue 22 Jan 13

Theendoftheworld says...

My late beloved Mother and Father-in-law had one of these devices - it was a godsend. If there appeared to be any discrepancy in the readings, someone would phone immediately and give professional advice. If anyone reading this has elderly, sick relatives I would strongly reccomend that they ask their Doctor or nurse about having one installed.
My late beloved Mother and Father-in-law had one of these devices - it was a godsend. If there appeared to be any discrepancy in the readings, someone would phone immediately and give professional advice. If anyone reading this has elderly, sick relatives I would strongly reccomend that they ask their Doctor or nurse about having one installed. Theendoftheworld
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Tue 22 Jan 13

perplexed says...

NYYPCT's strategy regarding telehealth has been lacking In direction for years. What about the 60% of machines which have never been used since 2009 ? Are they still fit for purpose and what about the cost ? Indeed , was anyone ever held responsible for such a vast miscalculation ?

Evidently, the PCT failed to persuade GP's to take them up over the last 4 years, so what has changed? Telehealth is only one component from a mix of self-care and support interventions; inextricably linked to many of the other components (shared decision making, support for self-management, care planning, personal health records, support for independent living etc etc) which can/must work together as interdependent parts; they are equally important, we know that if one of the parts is missing then 'self-care' really won't flourish.

Following a trial in 2012 , a BMJ report concluded that ‘the evidence base is essentially unchanged and uncertainties remain’. So, despite the fact that about 59 lives appeared to have been ‘saved’ in the trial through telehealth (a 3.7 per cent absolute reduction), the impact on utilisation and costs suggested little room for cost savings.
NYYPCT's strategy regarding telehealth has been lacking In direction for years. What about the 60% of machines which have never been used since 2009 ? Are they still fit for purpose and what about the cost ? Indeed , was anyone ever held responsible for such a vast miscalculation ? Evidently, the PCT failed to persuade GP's to take them up over the last 4 years, so what has changed? Telehealth is only one component from a mix of self-care and support interventions; inextricably linked to many of the other components (shared decision making, support for self-management, care planning, personal health records, support for independent living etc etc) which can/must work together as interdependent parts; they are equally important, we know that if one of the parts is missing then 'self-care' really won't flourish. Following a trial in 2012 , a BMJ report concluded that ‘the evidence base is essentially unchanged and uncertainties remain’. So, despite the fact that about 59 lives appeared to have been ‘saved’ in the trial through telehealth (a 3.7 per cent absolute reduction), the impact on utilisation and costs suggested little room for cost savings. perplexed
  • Score: 0

4:26pm Tue 22 Jan 13

markymmark says...

“I’d like to stress that nearly 1,200 patients in our area have benefited from using telehealth. The units have helped health professionals monitor patient’s medication, help them comply with medication regimes and educate them to manage their conditions better. A recent patient survey also showed telehealth was having a positive impact on family members and carers.”

So what about the other 920 units ?

The Health Service is doomed as long as there are so many overpaid unaccountable chiefs (and their deputies and their deputies assistants)
running the show.
“I’d like to stress that nearly 1,200 patients in our area have benefited from using telehealth. The units have helped health professionals monitor patient’s medication, help them comply with medication regimes and educate them to manage their conditions better. A recent patient survey also showed telehealth was having a positive impact on family members and carers.” So what about the other 920 units ? The Health Service is doomed as long as there are so many overpaid unaccountable chiefs (and their deputies and their deputies assistants) running the show. markymmark
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Digeorge says...

I have to say telehealth hsa helped me tremendously. I would have been in hospital with an ECG tied to my chest etc instead I was at home.

It is sad that I can't have access to my blood results so that I can monitor my calcium and juggle my medication properly as it is result dependent and a constant juggle as high or low and needs and requires to be reported on the day or thereafter. Thankfully, I now have an honest consultant who knows that I understand my condition and my body's symptoms and act accordingly otherwise I would be in hospital.

I just wish I could have more of the former rather than the later and more telehealth as there would be fewer hospital visits to report my results.
I have to say telehealth hsa helped me tremendously. I would have been in hospital with an ECG tied to my chest etc instead I was at home. It is sad that I can't have access to my blood results so that I can monitor my calcium and juggle my medication properly as it is result dependent and a constant juggle as high or low and needs and requires to be reported on the day or thereafter. Thankfully, I now have an honest consultant who knows that I understand my condition and my body's symptoms and act accordingly otherwise I would be in hospital. I just wish I could have more of the former rather than the later and more telehealth as there would be fewer hospital visits to report my results. Digeorge
  • Score: 0

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