Research prompts Government initiative
City is leading the largest ever study into tele-care and tele-health, the initial findings of which have prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to announce a major drive to deliver health technology to millions of NHS patients.
Tele-health involves the use of technological devices such as electronic sensors or equipment that monitor a patient's health remotely (e.g. from the home). Data can then be automatically transmitted to a health professional in real time, without the need for patients to attend a clinic. Similarly tele-care relates to personal and environmental sensors that enable 24 hour monitoring, allowing patients to live independently at home for longer.
The Whole System Demonstrator project, led by Professor Stanton Newman (pictured), Dean of the School of Health Sciences at City University London, was launched in May 2008. It is one of the most complex and comprehensive studies the Department of Health has ever undertaken.
The research involves analysing data from 6191 patients and 238 GP practices across three sites, Newham, Kent and Cornwall using a range of technology devices related to chronic health conditions including diabetes, heart failure and COPD.
Initial findings show that tele-health could reduce A&E visits, emergency and elective admissions, bed days and mortality rates. The research findings have prompted the Prime Minister to announce a major push to encourage the use of tele-care and tele-health in the UK.
During his speech on life sciences on 6th December 2011, the Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"We've done a trial, it's been a huge success and now we're on a drive to roll this out nationwide with an aim to improve three million lives over the next five years with this technology. Now this will make an extraordinary difference to people. Diabetics will be taking their blood sugar levels at home and having them checked remotely by a nurse; heart disease patients will have their blood pressure and pulse rates checked without leaving their home at all. This is dignity and convenience and independence for millions of people."
Professor Stanton Newman, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, says it is promising that the initial results are already influencing healthcare delivery. "Once the study is completed and published, we hope to have significant findings that will provide the Department of Health with clear direction on how technology can be used to improve patient outcomes."
You can find a report on the initial research findings here.