As a GP formerly in Newham, east London, I had first-hand experience of the life-changing impact telehealth can make.
Like any tool, if it’s poorly understood and used then it can be ineffective – and possibly even harmful.
However, in my experience telehealth supports self-care and ensures face-to-face contacts are meaningful, appropriate and built round patients’ needs.
If your readers think the 3 million lives campaign is about the NHS buying new equipment, I think they’ve missed the point.
It’s about working together to transform the whole long-term conditions care pathway, using technology as part of that where appropriate.
Why should we march patients into surgeries and hospitals only to take measurements or readings they can do at home?
And that’s not even the start of a real telehealth service. Much needs to happen to enable the large-scale adoption suggested by 3millionlives – and whether we do it in the NHS, making sure it has high standards, or leave it to the unregulated marketplace, it will become a reality.
If telehealth improves confidence, quality of care, independence and saves money in the long-run, why wouldn’t you want that for your patients?
From Dr Atul Kumar-Beurg, former clinical director of Newham Whole System Demonstrator Programme team