Local authorities across the UK now have access to a public health grant to help eliminate health inequalities and improve well-being.
Now the funding is there, a key component in the success of the grant could well be telehealth technology, which uses telecommunications or computer technology to share health information.
That might be a patient taking tests in the home and sending the results to a doctor, or a health screening programme that sends the results instantly to a GP.
The NHS currently uses a device created by Watford-based Telehealth Solutions called the CardioPod to measure, among other things, blood pressure and cholesterol.
In less than 20 minutes, the CardioPod allows clinicians to calculate the patient’s risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or having a stroke. Crucially, it offers those who may never visit their GP the chance to learn essential parts about healthy living, with advice and guidance from a trained health professional.
The CardioPod offers patients the chance to take heed of early warning signs and turn their lifestyle around before a condition becomes chronic – or deadly. That could mean taking more exercise, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake or other simple, but life-saving, measures.
The CardioPod does what manual screening never could, which is give immediate results and integrate fully with health services in half the time and at half the cost, estimates suggest.
Telehealth Solutions’ Executive Chairman Jeremy Cummin explained: “Public health is the future of keeping people living longer, better lives. Medicine used to take a reactive stance, responding to problems once they have already taken root – but that solution isn’t tenable. The CardioPod is about getting the public to make small, effective changes on a massive scale. It doesn’t just improve health and avoid illness, it makes people happier.”