The Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing has announced he believes up to 27,000 NHS jobs may ‘go or will go’ – but telehealth might change that.
The NHS has been instructed to make £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015, almost a quarter of its total budget.
Telehealth is the use of technology to transfer information between patient and carer, and vice versa. Some believe it could be the future of the NHS.
Telehealth Solutions’ HomePod is an iPad-like device that allows chronically ill patients to measure vital signs, answer symptom questionnaires and send the results to a nurse – though they may be miles apart.
It means clinicians can detect health issues before they become any more serious, avoiding a costly hospital visit or ambulance call-out.
One study showed that at 6 months hospital costs for telehealth users were half those receiving traditional methods, saving £185,000 – a 5:1 return on investment.
But telehealth is useless without nurses or doctors examining the information on the other side. It’s a tool to help clinicians care for patients more effectively, but none of the benefit to patients and the NHS can be realised without the support of staff.
If telehealth can be used to reduce hospital admissions, more investment can be placed in out-patient care – ensuring that nurses have time to pro-actively treat and support patients.
Jeremy Cummin, Executive Chairman of Telehealth Solutions Ltd. implored, ‘This is indeed a very delicate time for the NHS, and the steps that we take now will shape our health service for the next decade and beyond’
‘Telehealth is a cutting-edge technology, that has more and more evidence behind it, the NHS needs to trust telehealth and use it to reduce costs, preserve frontline services, but bring patient care to a level we have never seen before’