15 leading suppliers spearhead telehealth deployment bid

Industry throws its weight behind Government's 3millionlives campaign to speed up technology adoption

The Government’s bid to roll out telehealth technology to three million people with long-term conditions in England was given a boost this week with the announcement that 15 leading industry organisations have pledged their support for the campaign.

The 3millionlives initiative was launched in January by Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, who this week confirmed the next stage in its development with the announcement of support from leading suppliers.

Following the move, 02 Health, Air Products, BT Health, Care Innovations, Cisco, Harmoni, Invicta Telecare, Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, Pfizer Health Solutions, Philips, Robert Bosch Healthcare, S3 Group, Telehealth Solutions, Technology Strategy Board and Tunstall Healthcare have all pledged financial support to the scheme.

To gain the commitment of so many different types of organisations is testament to the importance of telehealth and telecare to the future of our health and care system

They join the four trade associations representing the telehealth and telecare industry – the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), Telecare Services Association (TSA), Intellect, and Medilink UK, who initiated the campaign through the signing of a Concordat with the Department of Health in January.

Angela Single, chairman of the 3millionlives working group and telehealth lead at BT Health, said the development would help to improve support for patients. She told BBH : “To gain the commitment of so many different types of organisations is testament to the importance of telehealth and telecare to the future of our health and care system. We must now work hard to deliver on the promise to enable millions more people to benefit from improved health and independence, reduced admissions to hospital and, in some cases, even longer lives.”

We believe telehealth can radically transform the way care is delivered and enhance the patient experience and are working with innovative and leading suppliers to provide a range of solutions to offer greater choice and flexibility to clinicians, commissioners and patients

The initiative will enable three million people to receive the significant benefits demonstrated across the Department of Health’s Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) programme, the world’s largest ever randomised controlled telehealth trial. The headline results of the pilot showed a 15% reduction in A&E visits, a 20% reduction in emergency admissions, a 14% reduction in elective admissions, and, most significantly, a 45% reduction in mortality rates through the use of telehealth systems.

The industry representatives will now get to work alongside the Department of Health, the NHS, social care, housing and patient representative stakeholders to formulate the most efficient and cost-effective ways of implementing telehealth and telecare services at scale and to put these services at the heart of care pathways. Together they aim to fulfil this challenge over the next five years by simplifying procurement and commissioning processes.

Commenting on BT Health’s support for the project, Single said: “BT is committed to the telehealth market and, as one of the market leaders in health in the UK, welcomes this new approach. We believe telehealth can radically transform the way care is delivered and enhance the patient experience and are working with innovative and leading suppliers to provide a range of solutions to offer greater choice and flexibility to clinicians, commissioners and patients.”

Gill Baldwin, chief executive of supplier, Tunstall, and vice chairman of the working group, added: “3millionlives is a fantastic example of industry and government working alongside each other to improve the lives of individuals living with long-term conditions, enhancing clinical outcomes, supporting patients and doctors and saving money for the taxpayer.”

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