BRITISH doctors forced by the government to claw back cash to maintain their pay must now examine new ways to save money.
The Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body's (DDRB) pushed for an increase in recommended GMS funding of 1.34%, which would mean no net pay rise but would allow 'movement in expenses' and a 1% rise for salaried GPs.
This, however, was overruled by ministers and the award was reduced to 0.8%, forcing practices to reduce their expenses by 1%. Now executive chairman of Telehealth Solutions Jeremy Cummin has urged health professionals to make 21st century technology work for them, saving valuable time and resources through improved efficiency.
The firm’s SurgeryPod is a good example of how one system can streamline the day-to-day operations of a GP surgery. Patients answer a series of health-based questions on the Pod and the results are sent directly to the GP’s computer ahead of the personal consultation.
That means those who have embraced the technology say they have more time to focus on treatment rather than diagnosis, saving time and money without compromising patient care.
The SurgeryPod, which has already won the support of health professionals across the country, has in many cases paid for itself within a month of installation.
Jeremy said: “Our aim is to boost patient care through the intelligent use of telehealth technology, which ultimately saves time and money across the board. Today’s GP practices are backed into a corner as far as finances are concerned and every penny is a prisoner, which is why it is vital to examine ways in which they can recoup money without compromising patient care. This is where we come in, particularly with the SurgeryPod, which takes a lot of pressure off doctors and allows them to get down to the very real business of treating patients.”
Two of the medical practices in England that have had the SurgeryPod installed are already reaping the benefits and believe it was a very wise investment.
Rachel Stark is the Practice Manager at East Quay Medical Centre in Somerset and was very pleased with the way the Pod had changed life in the surgery.
Rachel explained: “The SurgeryPod provides a very patient-friendly way of undertaking simple health monitoring and collecting health and lifestyle information.” It has been welcomed by patients, staff and GPs, all of whom recognise the many benefits it brings. It is clearly a cost-effective solution as, promoted effectively and located well and is an excellent way of collating data required by many QOF targets and enhanced services.“
GP Mike Ingram is a senior partner at Red House Surgery in Radlett and he said the SurgeryPod was particularly useful for measuring blood pressure objectively before making a decision as to whether to treat or not.
He added: “It is also good for monitoring people with chronic stable hypertension who need little intervention; allowing those who want basic cardiovascular screening to administer it personally and using self administered questionnaires to measure and monitor anxiety and depression”
For more information on Telehealth Solutions please log on to the website www.thsl.co.uk and for press enquiries out of hours please contact Martin Hunt on 07767 401 760.
Notes to editors
Telehealth Solutions was founded in 2006 to bring the convergence of technology and changing clinical practice to the benefit of patients and clinicians.
The company has since grown rapidly both in the UK and internationally. Its employees are dedicated to providing the most secure, scalable and robust methods for collecting information from patients, without the need for clinical intervention, and getting that information to clinicians and carers looking after those patients.
Products in the THSL portfolio, which is explained in-depth on the firm’s website www.thsl.co.uk, include:
• Check-in Pod
The Department of Health describes telehealth as the ‘remote delivery of healthcare using electronic means of communication, usually from patient to clinician’.
It means patients can measure their vital signs at home and the information gathered is then transmitted via a telehealth monitor to a clinician. Benefits include increased professional focus on patients, anxiety reduction, anticipation and avoidance of crisis admissions to hospital and enhanced medication compliance. The patient also becomes more informed about their daily health and becomes an active partner in their healthcare.