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GPs go forth

£2.7m telehealth deployment goes 'live'

CCGs are taking part in the largest telehealth deployment in the country, with at least 1,500 patients given touchscreen technology to answer questions about their own health at home.

The £2.7m scheme will see patients – initially with COPD and heart failure – relaying information about their blood pressure, weight and blood gases via touchscreen devices.

The information will then be analysed and, if necessary, acted on by specialist nurses.

The three-year scheme has been commissioned by Surrey County Council and will involve six CCGs. The first telehealth patient in North West Surrey CCG is already ‘live’, with more patients in Surrey Downs CCG following shortly.

The scheme follows doubts over the cost-effectiveness of telehealth, with the Government’s flagship trial showing a 45% reduction in mortality and 20% fall in emergency admissions, but a cost per QALY of £92,000 – above the usual NICE threshold for cost-effectiveness of £20,000–£30,000 per QALY.

A joint statement from Surrey County Council and the manufacturer behind the devices, Medvivo, said: ‘Methods for systematic and careful selection of patients have been worked through at CCG meetings with representatives from a cross section of disciplines including Dr Richard Barnett, North West Surrey’s clinical lead for telehealth and Dr Philippa Woodward as lead GP. 

’Following telehealth training for nurses, which took place during July, the first patient joined the service on the 30 July. The intention is to increase numbers progressively over coming weeks and months.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • Sounds like yet another gimmick which will probably be as useful as 111. I have a better idea, how about funding general practice so we can provide an appropriate level of service?

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  • I'd totally agree with the above. The service is crumbling under the pressure with doctors and patients struggling to manage demand and staff leaving / retiring / quitting in droves. Whilst this happens the Govt is busy spending money on touchscreen devices for remote transmission of Weight readings. Fantastic.

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  • Follow the money! Who really gets to benefit?

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  • Harry Longman

    So there's good evidence, costing £60m, that this technology is more costly than other ways of providing care - but Surrey is pouring another £2.7m down that tube. Why?

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