PATIENTS across Scotland suffering from chronic conditions can now monitor their health from the comfort of their own homes.
Telehealth Solutions’ HomePod is a remarkable piece of technology that allows doctors to monitor patients with serious lung conditions without the patient even having to leave their home or the doctor their surgery.
Not only has the revolutionary system made life easier for doctors and patients in Renfrewshire and Argyll & Bute, it has also now been adopted in Fife, where Telehealth Solutions experts are now training staff at the first surgery to have the HomePod installed.
Not only is the technology helping to save the NHS thousands by reducing the need for costly hospital admissions, it also puts patients more in control if they have conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A progressive disease, which can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms, the symptoms of COPD escalate for many Scots during the cold winter months.
According to the British Lung Foundation, COPD kills more than 4,000 Scots a year and, given cold weather, also heightens the risks posed by chest infections. The news that modern telehealth technology is riding to the rescue couldn’t have come at a better time.
Using the HomePod, people can monitor their vital signs on a daily basis, checking things like lung function and blood pressure. And once the information is processed, the information is then sent on to their GP at the surgery.
That means any changes in a patient’s condition are detected very quickly and even if they do still have to go to hospital their stay wouldn’t be as long because the problem was detected earlier.
NHS Fife’s Telehealth project manager, Dr Suzanne Brannan, said: “This technology will enable us to deliver tailored healthcare in the comfort of the patient’s own home thereby improving quality of life for COPD patients and reducing hospital acute admissions.
Clinical lead Dr Andrew Kilpatrick added: “As well as potentially reducing time in hospital and episodes of illness for patients, the HomePods help to empower patients to care for them selves and to maintain their self esteem.”
In addition, Dr Colin Selby, Clinical Lead for Respiratory Medicine in Fife, suggested that this technology should further empower individuals with COPD to self-manage their disease.
He added: “At the same time, these HomePods have the potential to provide early warning to local healthcare providers with opportunities for even earlier intervention; supporting at home rather than hospital admission. I am looking forward to their use in Fife.”
Telehealth Solution’s executive chairman Jeremy Cummin, the force behind the emergence of the Watford-based firm three years ago, is remarkably frank about the reaction the pioneering firm’s technology has sparked among users.
He said: “This is a very exciting time for Telehealth Solutions. Not only is the firm expanding rapidly, our groundbreaking technology is now really starting to make a difference in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“From our experience and the feedback from medical professionals, patients love the HomePod as it offers them an unprecedented sense of freedom and also peace of mind that they are taking charge of their own health.
“Crucially, it also removes the temptation for self-diagnosis, either through books and magazines or on the Internet, which is all too common but which can also be very dangerous.
“For today’s NHS professionals, many bound by budget constraints, offering patients the chance to take charge of their own health where appropriate – and with remote medical guidance – is a fantastic step forward.”