New telehealth service to enable deployment of technology at scale

InHealthcare managed system can be 'rolled out at scale and pace'

A new end-to-end telehealth service has been launched across the UK to enable technology to be rolled out at scale and take the pressure of managing patients away from overstretched GPs and nurses.

InTechnology’s InHealthcare system is a fully-managed solution designed to help patients self-manage long-term conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and stroke.

Bryn Sage, chief operating officer at InTechnology explained: “We want to break current models for patient-led healthcare and excel in delivering a first-class managed telehealth service. By making this a patient-centric service, rather than a product sale, we can deliver what is needed, rather than an off-the-shelf solution, and make telehealth affordable so it can be rolled out at scale and pace. By taking over the responsibility and management of rollout from overstretched clinicians such as nurses and GPs, we can also ensure that the service is successful.”

By making this a patient-centric service, rather than a product sale, we can deliver what is needed, rather than an off-the-shelf solution, and make telehealth affordable so it can be rolled out at scale and pace

He added that the system would overcome some of the problems encountered to date, which have led to concerns being voiced about the ability of telehealth and telecare systems to be deployed more widely.

"Many previous attempts to provide successful telehealth services have cost, and wasted, a lot of NHS money and have not lived up to expectation, largely because the proposed solutions have been product, rather than service, led, as highlighted by the British Medical Journal’s findings on the results of the Government’s Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) randomised control trial of telehealth services."

"We're taking an innovative approach to the problem by providing a service-based solution packed as a viable commercial proposition. At the heart of the InHealthcare service is our own online telehealth portal that incorporates a purpose-built patient record platform. Delivered over our resilient cloud infrastructure, it is a fully managed service that provides a single, joined-up path between a patient at home and expert medical care.”

Government figures estimate that, by 2025, there will be 18 million people in the UK who suffer from a long-term medical condition. The Government’s 3millionlives campaign, launched off the back of the WSD trial, aims to roll out assistive technologies to at least 15% of these patients.

Sage said: “InHealthcare is in response to an ageing population and the resulting public health ‘time bomb’, which the Government has called on the industry to help defuse.

“By enabling the exchange of physiological data, such as blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and heart rate, between a patient at home and medical specialists, InHealthcare assists diagnosis and monitoring and helps patients to keep their independence.”

Many previous attempts to provide successful telehealth services have cost, and wasted, a lot of NHS money and have not lived up to expectation, largely because the proposed solutions have been product, rather than service, led

Following initial referral from a clinician, InHealthcare provides a full installation and training service for the patient, along with the appropriate monitoring devices, its telehealth hub and internet access where required. Results of each patient’s regular, self-managed monitoring tests are then transmitted via the telehealth hub and the NHS N3 network to the InHealthcare team, where specialists can triage the type of alert from the telehealth system.

Saneth Wijayaratna, chief executive of InTechnology, said: "The Government has asked the NHS and the healthcare industry to help deliver an effective telehealth proposition for the country. A joined-up, managed, end-to-end telehealth solution will cut costs and, even more importantly, save lives. The challenge now is for industry, working with the NHS, to develop a range of affordable telehealth services so that everyone who needs telehealth can receive it.”

And he added: “The key to making a genuinely affordable telehealth service is not just about reducing the cost of telehealth kit and services; it is also about integrating telehealth into existing systems and processes through industry co-operation around agreed standards. This has to be better than introducing yet another raft of proprietary vendor-specific systems that don't talk to each other and that ultimately only add work to an already over-stretched NHS workforce."

The key to making a genuinely affordable telehealth service is not just about reducing the cost of telehealth kit and services; it is also about integrating telehealth into existing systems and processes through industry co-operation around agreed standards

Paul Burstow, the Government’s Minister for Care Services and advocate of the 3millionlives initiative welcomed the input from industry, saying: "This new approach is set to improve the quality of care for people, increase their independence and dignity as well as reduce the time they spend in hospital.It is only by the telehealth industry working together with the Department of Health and other stakeholders, that this will be possible. In addition, UK industry will gain a competitive edge in a marketplace where many millions of people worldwide could benefit from this technology, helping to generate income and jobs in the UK."

InTechnology currently has InHealthcare projects underway with Durham County Council and NHS Northamptonshire, the latter having a particular focus on AF detection functionality, which often goes undiagnosed and is often a pre-cursor to a stroke.

The service is designed to be free to the patient, but with straightforward payment plans making it affordable for clinical commissioning groups, primary care trusts, NHS foundation trusts and GPs.

The launch of the new service comes in the wake of InTechnology's recent substantial investments in leading telehealth company, United Telehealth and Healthsolve, one of the UK's leaders in the development of healthcare software.

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