Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has been providing telemedicine services to the prisons for over 5 years across over 20 specialties, including Diabetes. Telemedicine is the provision of remote video consultations between clinicians and patients to enable clinical review and intervention, to minimise the severity of a condition and its potential deterioration. In effect this service is between healthcare providers. The prisons have on site medical teams who provide nursing and primary care provision and we provide the secondary and specialist provision.
In 2008, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust began participating in the ALIP programme (Assisted Living Innovation Platform) to develop a commercial application for telemedicine in a patient’s home. This was aimed at supporting patients with long term conditions such as Diabetes, COPD, CHF.
Funding for the ALIP programme was drawn from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a non departmental public body who are supported by government bodies, local authorities and research councils. Initially funding covered the deployment to 20 patients living with diabetes. Following this, additional funding was awarded from the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority to roll out to a further 120 patients.
The aim was to gather learning in the following areas before mainstreaming the technology across the region:
- Understanding of challenges relating to deployment and installation;
- Patient perceptions;
- Impact assessment.
The main focus of the work for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is supporting patients with Diabetes through the use of tele-medicine. Telemedicine allows remote video consultations between healthcare professionals and patients which support care outside of hospital. A simple easy to use small set top box and camera are installed in the patient’s home which enables a secure video consultation to take place via a broadband connection. By delivering outpatient appointments remotely to patients in their own home this removes the need for patients to travel to the hospital to attend the Diabetes Clinic in person. Biochemical and biomedical measures (for example levels of glycated haemoglobin or Blood Pressure values) are available via access to the primary care team’s electronic patient record or the Hospital laboratory system, allowing an adequate clinical assessment of progress to be made and enabling the delivery of appropriate clinical advice. Airedale NHS Foundation Trust aim is to empower patients with long term conditions to have more involvement in their care and care management through adoption of telemedicine technology.
The NHS in England is currently undergoing significant transformation to its structures and consequently the way in which care is delivered with the aim of driving financial efficiencies. Major change is occurring through the shift in delivery of care from a hospital setting to patients receiving their care in the community. Through appropriate use of technology Airedale NHS Foundation Trust believe that high quality care can be delivered in patient homes, thus supporting this national initiative. This model is also being developed for Nursing and Residential Care Homes.
As a result of the expertise in the field of Telemedicine gained from the national work with the prisons and the ALIP trial with Diabetes patients, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has been chosen to host the Telehealth Hub. This is a unique collaboration in the UK of a partnership between, primary care, secondary care and education to deliver a seamless service. The Telehealth Hub will be provided by three Yorkshire & Humber NHS organisations: Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Barnsley, and a partnership of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Hull. The Hub will offer a ‘menu’ of clinical services and telemedicine products to commissioners (and providers) within the Yorkshire and Humber region, comprising of three care services, Telemedicine, Telecoaching and Telemonitoring delivered remotely. The Telehealth Hub is designed to support patients with a range of long term conditions including Diabetes and is scheduled to be live in the summer of 2011.