25/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 07:59

Telehealth could save NHS money and help treat patients

Category: Scotland

Published: 13th Oct 2011 00:57:01

Mobile phones, the internet and digital televisions could help the NHS treat patients and manage costs, according to a new report from Audit Scotland.

Telehealth is a way of treating of patients in remote areas in a separate location from the clinicians.

This could include a consultation between a patient and a doctor using video-conferencing.

The report called on the NHS to do more to consider telehealth when introducing or redesigning services.

It said NHS boards in Scotland must look at new ways of delivering care, particularly as the health service was facing growing demand.

According to the public spending watchdog, the £5m telehealth system, which has the potential to save about £1,000 per patient per year, has been largely ignored by the boards.

There are about 70 small initiatives across Scotland which have identified the benefits of telehealth. 

These benefits include less travel, faster diagnoses and fewer hospital admissions, according to the review.

Telehealth has a pivotal role to play in delivering efficient and effective care to people”

However there have been limited opportunities for clinical staff to gain experience of using it, and more education and training was needed.

Auditor General for Scotland Robert Black said: "Telehealth could help to provide a range of services efficiently and effectively.

"Where it has been used, patients, doctors and nurses generally like it."

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: "If the benefits of telehealth are to be capitalised upon, education for training and staff must be improved."

Telehealth forward

The Scottish Centre for Telehealth has recently been merged into NHS 24 and the Scottish government has put in place a new e-Health strategy. 

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "The NHS doesn't stand still and the way that services are delivered is constantly adapting, helping to improve quality for patients and efficiency for the public purse.

"Telehealth has a pivotal role to play in delivering efficient and effective care to people of all ages across our country."

Labour public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson said: "There are still too few incentives for health boards to sign up to proven, effective applications."

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon, a member of Holyrood's Health Committee, said: "The NHS 24 roll-out and progress of telehealth across Scotland has been disappointing despite the proven benefits to patients."

Giving the reaction of the Scottish Liberal Democrats to the report, Alison McInnes said: "Opposition parties have called on the Scottish Government to show stronger leadership to ensure a greater take-up of telehealth by NHS boards."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Telehealth could save NHS money and help treat patients [Online] (Updated 13th Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/193453/Telehealth-could-save-NHS-money-and-help-treat-patients [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Queen's University students build all-electric DeLorean

    A car built in Belfast in the 1980s is the centrepiece of a specialist engineering project at Queen's University in the city.
  • Crews tackle recycling plant fire at Glenfarg

    About 100 tonnes of rubbish is on fire at a waste recycling site in Perthshire.
  • Wales NHS emergency care suffers uncertainty, AMs say

    Emergency care in Welsh hospitals is suffering from continued uncertainty over the future of A&E units, an assembly committee has said.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Health atlas allows online search of risk by area

    A new online map of England and Wales allows people to enter their postcode and find their community's risk of developing 14 conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer.
  • Ditchling Museum and Tate Britain vie for Art Fund Prize

    A village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.