Telehealth: only part of the solutionBMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4724 (Published 11 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4724
All rapid responses
Telehealth has a part to play in the delivery of healthcare, more so in the near future if not now. The aim of delivering tailor made healthcare to especially to mature patients in their home (which is the choice with majority of the patients, compared to Nursing / Residential home). Not just with view to delivery healthcare cost effectively but also holistically and giving choice to the patients.
Telehealth is a broad term for various steps / initiatives which can be a part of delivering this mode of care. It’s not necessarily all high tech with video conferencing etc for connecting patients to physicians for them to diagnose.
The aim for delivering this type of healthcare should realistic with simple monitoring / diagnostic gadgets
INR testing with finger pricks
Blood glucose monitoring
Oxygen saturation reading
Automatic BP reading
Portable ECG reading (results send via internet)
Contact with patient with mental health issues via mobile for anxiety, reassurance etc
It can be in various shapes / forms depending upon need of the locality / cohort / population concerned, also what objective we want to achieve.
Main objective has to be
A. Patient choice
B. Fewer admissions
C. Less travel for patients (especially in remote regions)
D. Help patients with long term conditions to live independent life in their own home, instead of admitting into Nursing home OR Residential home.
Reading measurements from these gadgets can be organised in a centre in the locality OR at local hospital manned by Senior nurse / Community matrons, its not necessary that it has be manned by Physicians.
It’s not necessary that Telehealth will be a costly exercise. Even if avoids one admission per patients per annum, it will be enough to fund the gadgets of one setting (Pay for the service). It will be win – win situation for patients and the local health services.
Competing interests: No competing interests