NHS 2.0 - Re: Does telemedicine deserve the green light?
18 July 2012
We read with great interest the article by Jonathan Gornall on the usefulness of telemedicine in primary care. Although the improvement in morbidity and mortality in patients admitted to secondary care was only modest, this is at least a step in the right direction. In a health system that is increasingly primary care-centred, it is understandable that doctors perceive the need to implement technological advances to improve patient care in the community. The advent of portable devices and the wider connectivity between patients and doctors has meant that oxygen saturation, blood glucose levels and body weight in patients with heart failure can be closely monitored and managed from a distance.
Such initiatives invite the question: how can we make hospital medicine more efficient with technology? A recent study by Patel et al. showed such a trend with the use of mobile tablet computers. These not only improved subjective measures, such as increased patient contact and time spent at educational meetings, but also objective measures regarding tests ordered since patient admission and significant events such as ward rounds and meetings. At a time when services are being compressed and the demand for improved patient care is increasing, these are ways by which investing in the right technology can produce significant results. We remain optimistic about the technological future of our health service and encourage others to vigorously pursue this promising research area.
1. Gornall, J. Does telemedicine deserve the green light? BMJ. 2012 Jul 10;345.
2. Patel BK, Chapman CG, Luo N, Woodruff JN, Arora VM. Impact of mobile tablet computers on internal medicine resident efficiency. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Mar 12;172(5):436-8.
Competing interests: None declared
North Middlesex Hospital, Sterling Way London N18 1QX
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