On World Health Day, health professionals urged to embrace telehealth technology

Tue 16 Nov, 2010 // Tartan Silk
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As World COPD Day dawns, a UK telehealth expert has underlined the importance of embracing technology to improve the nation’s health.

Jeremy Cummin, the executive chairman of Telehealth Solutions, said there is mounting evidence to support the benefits of telehealth technology but adoption is still not as widespread as it could be.

The Watford-based entrepreneur, who established the firm with business partner John Dyson in 2006, has long championed the benefits of remote patient care.

He said: “We know it works, we know it saves patient lives and we know it saves costs; the only question left is – why aren’t we using it more? We have dedicated our time and research to developing cutting edge telehealth technology that will encourage early detection and intervention of, amongst other things, COPD exacerbations.

“Devices, such as our HomePod, offer COPD patients the chance to manage their condition more effectively at home and offer health professionals the chance to keep a closer eye on patients than ever before.”

Telehealth Solutions’ portable HomePod allows patients to measure vital signs, answer symptom questionnaires and send the results, via mobile phone technology, to a nurse from their own homes.
For COPD sufferers, that means a drop in lung function or signs of an infection can be spotted sooner, and in turn, the clinician can intervene before an issue becomes dangerous.

The HomePod was at the centre of an award-winning pilot scheme run by Telehealth Solutions on Isle of Bute off Scotland’s West Coast. COPD patients were given HomePods for a set trial period and the evaluation shows that the devices reduced the number of hospital admissions by more than 90 per cent and halved the number of home visits by local health professionals.

Jeremy added: “The Bute patients liked the machine because it gave them more control over their condition and gave reassurance of closer contact with their doctor than ever before. With COPD, detecting any deterioration in condition as early as possible is crucial to avoiding a serious exacerbation.

Without telehealth, problems like these are only detected once they demand a 999 call or hospital visit. By bringing patients and carers closer together, COPD sufferers can leave hospital sooner; have fewer hospital visits and fewer respiratory emergencies.

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