Is telehealth a busted flush? (UK)

Caroline Price, in an article in Pulse, one of the UK’s magazines for general practitioners “looks at telehealth’s uncertain future” in Analysis: Is telehealth a busted flush?. Free registration is required to access it but it may be worth doing as it is a fairly comprehensive round up of the mood of NHS GPs and commissioners in the wake of the recent Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) analyses. She has also included some figures she has rounded up from the 3ML pathfinder sites. “Pulse has also discovered that even the most enthusiastic CCGs are struggling to roll out the scheme. Of the seven pathfinder areas announced by Jeremy Hunt at an Age UK conference last November, two were unable to provide any figures for the number of patients benefiting from telehealth.”

Readers with access to the (‘private’) 3ML discussion group on LinkedIn will find a relevant, interesting discussion in progress. It was started by Chris Wright, the 3ML Programme Manager at the Department of Health: WSD data – help or hindrence? [sic]

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  1. Alasdair Morrison

    Steve, I am posting this here as I am struggling to get it posted on the Pulse site relating to this article – response is in reference to Chris Wright’s comments at the bottom of the article.

    I can only agree with Chris’ comments as the focus should be on the integration of services to produce more joined up working on the ground. This is what will make transformation happen. The technology is only a part of this process and must not be used as the driver for change. As stated in in the article ‘It sort of feels like the technology is there and we’ve said, “which patients will fit it?” Rather than saying “here’s the patient, here’s their situation, is there a technology that will work for them?” ‘

    Taking prevention as the first element (as this is always better and cheaper than the cure), the adoption of any technologies (and a need to look beyond the classic telecare and telehealth) needs to ensure that the solution fits the patient / service user, the current approach of pathfinders sees them being convinced to outsource technology provision to one industry provider or a group of a few providers – who have not yet proven their abilities to provide these services at scale and meeting the desired outcomes and financial efficiencies as well as actual savings. This is further evidenced by the industry providers also being manufacturers of the equipment – is their main goal meeting the needs of CCG’s / Social Care and Hospital Trusts or achieving mass sales of systems through their own service provision plans??