Newham telehealth pilot gets national rollout

A remote health monitoring system piloted in Newham will be rolled out across Britain following its successful trial.

The Whole System Demonstrator allowed more than 1,500 people to monitor their health from their homes across the borough in the pilot which began on October 1 2009.

Now, several million people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart problems will receive equipment that will let them monitor their health at home.

The system was mentioned by Prime Minister David Cameron who said it would make a huge difference to people.

The first set of initial findings from the programme show that telehealth can substantially cut deaths by 45 per cent, reduce the need for admissions to hospital (14 per cent) and lower the number of bed days spent in hospital (14 per cent) as well as time spent in A&E.

The results were announced by the Government and coincided with a visit to Newham by the Care Services Minister Paul Burstow who met Terry Munro, a Telehealth user from North Woolwich who has taken part in the trial.

He demonstrated how the telehealth system allows him to manage his health while staff can monitor the results from a healthcare centre. Terry said: “It’s like having a Doctor in your house because if there’s anything wrong they spot it straight away.”

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Later the Minister met with key partners from Newham Council and local NHS services who have jointly supported the programme. The Minister was able to see a demonstration of the information received by staff via the system which is used to inform decision-making, treatment and care. The implementation of the telehealth programme was led by Community Health Newham, a directorate of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Paul Gocke, Programme Leader and Director of Community Health Newham, said: “In our experience in Newham, telehealth has great potential to allow us to ensure well targeted care for people with Long Term Conditions, to help them take more control of their condition and to stay in their own home.

Now that we have the outcome evidence from the trial, we are working hard with other agencies to build on our established position as a telehealth leader, making sure that the technology is both available and well used by people who can benefit from it most.”