Telehealth is the monitoring of patient`s vital life signs within their own home using portable monitoring equipment to measure information such as: blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, weight, blood glucose levels, etc. This information is then securely transmitted down a telephone line to a Health Centre for analysis by clinical staff.

Picture courtesy of Tunstall

This lady is in the process of recording her physiological measurements prior to transmission down the telephone line to a Health Centre,  the blood pressure cuff can clearly be seen on her left arm. Should the transmitted patient information fall outside the established parameters for that particular patient, then it is flagged up on the system and a clinician can then take whatever appropriate action is necessary.

Telehealth monitoring can help prevent/reduce hospital admissions for those with long term conditions by enabling early action to be taken should signs of health deterioration be detected in the collected information.

Telehealth can also support early discharge from hospital for patients with long term conditions such as: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart conditions and diabetes by providing a means of monitoring physiological signs and alerting clinical staff should there be any adverse changes.

Telehealth enables clinical staff to manage and utilise their time more effectively by prioritizing those patients which require urgent attention.

It has been found that the regular taking of the readings by the patient themselves also helps to improve their interest in their own health and well-being. The equipment is simple to operate and has audio visual prompts to guide patients through the process, it is often equipped with the facility to add extra relevant questions for the patient to answer.

Telehealth has the potential to make service efficiencies and cost savings through targeted use of this technology. The recent Whole Systems Demonstrator randomised trial (WSD) results has shown a number of benefits in using this technology.

Be Sociable, Share!