Liverpool CCG plans telehealth pilot with hospital consultants
As part of a mission to grow its use of healthcare technology, the city will trial the expansion of telehealth referrals in secondary as well as primary care
As part of plans to expand its use of telehealth technologies, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group is planning a pilot scheme with secondary-care professionals.
For the last five years, the CCG has offered patients monitoring technologies that they can use in their home to take measurements including blood pressure and blood-oxygen rate. Sufferers of three conditions – heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – can keep track of their own signs and health indicators via a tablet device or set-top box provided by the CCG. Patients’ health is also monitored remotely by nurses, who are available for phone consultation.
The technology, which is only installed if a patient actively wants to use it, has thus far been offered to patients via their GP. But the next stage of the CCG’s plan is to work with secondary-care consultants, who could offer the monitoring tools to patients before they leave hospital, meaning the technology could already be installed at their home once they are discharged.
This will allow patients to have a greater “continuity of care”, NHS Liverpool CCG digital care and innovation lead Dave Horsfield told PublicTechnology.
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“This requires a lot of engagement with secondary-care consultants. We have been working with them, and we are now getting ready for the first pilot stage of testing this, [which will mean] the hospital being able to put them straight onto monitoring,” he said. “They are the next key stages, so that we really start to pull together the whole system – so patients can get that support and continuity.”
The first pilot scheme will likely get underway in the “next two to three months”, Horsfield said. The timescale, scope, and nature of how new digital care options get rolled out is always dictated by clinical care professionals, he added.
“How we do it very much comes down to the clinicians and what they are comfortable with. The one thing we will never, ever compromise is patient care,” he said. “This is about improving patient care by increasing the amount of intelligence [we have on a patient]. The route that we take is very much led by clinicians.”
Liverpool CCG recently signed a deal with telehealth specialist Docobo worth a potential £11.5m over a period of up to five years. The planned expansion into secondary care is part of a bigger mission over the coming years to expand the breadth and scale of its use of telehealth in the provision of patient care.
Look out in coming days for a full write-up of Horsfield's discussion with PublicTechnology, including lots more insights on how Liverpool has deployed telehealth so far, and how the technology and its uses might evolve.
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