Poots launches £18m state-of-the-art Telemonitoring NI service

Poots launches £18m state-of-the-art Telemonitoring NI service

Health Minister Edwin Poots today marked the roll-out of a ground-breaking hi-tech scheme which will enable more patients to monitor their health in their own homes.

Following funding of £18m from the Department of Health, the newly named Centre for Connected Health and Social Care (CCHSC), part of the Public Health Agency (PHA), worked in partnership with business consortium TF3 to establish the innovative Telemonitoring NI service. The service is now being delivered by the TF3 consortium in partnership with the Health and Social Care Trusts.

Remote telemonitoring combines technology and services that enable patients with chronic diseases to test their vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, body weight, temperature, blood glucose and oxygen levels at home on a daily basis. The service will now be rolled out to 3,500 patients across Northern Ireland per annum for a period of six years.  

 Mr Poots today visited the home of Larne pensioner Michael Howard who has Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder (COPD) to hear how Telemonitoring NI has changed his life.

During the visit Mr Poots said: "Chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and COPD affect around three quarters of people over the age of 75. This is the generation from whom transport and mobility pose the biggest problems. The Telemonitoring NI service will allow thousands to monitor their vital signs without having to leave their own homes.

 "It means that patients are able to understand and manage their condition better. Many say it has improved their confidence and given them peace of mind. With a health professional monitoring each patient's health on a daily basis, there is less need for hospital admission. Carers are also better informed with the pro-active support provided. It means earlier intervention in, and the prevention of, deterioration of condition, acute illness and hospital admissions. 

 "Telemonitoring NI is an excellent example of how the Health Service can innovateusing modern technology to deliver a better service for our patients."

Eddie Ritson, Programme Director of CCHSC, PHA, said: “The roll-out of Telemonitoring NI represents a significant step towards providing quality care for the growing number of people with heart disease, stroke, some respiratory conditions  and diabetes who want to live at home while having their conditions safely managed.

“This new service will give people more information which combined with timely advice will enable patients to gain more control over their health while supporting them to live independently in their own homes for longer. 

“A patient will take their vital sign measurements at home, usually on a daily basis. and these will automatically be transmited to the Tf3 system. The resulting readings are monitored centrally by a healthcare professional working in the Tf3 triage team. If the patient’s readings show signs of deterioration to an unacceptable level, they will be contacted by phone by a nurse working in a central team and if appropriate a healthcare professional in the patient’s local Trust will be alerted to enable them to take appropriate action.

“Families and carers will also benefit from the reassurance that chronic health conditions are being closely monitored on an ongoing basis. The information collected through the service can also be used by doctors, nurses  and patients in making decisions on how individual cases should be managed. ”

Using the service, Mr Howard, 71, who has emphysema - a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath - monitors his vital signs using the new technology every weekday morning. The information is monitored centrally and if readings show signs of deterioration to an unacceptable level, Mr Howard’s local healthcare professional is alerted.

“Taking my readings is such a simple process but one that gives me huge benefits as it is an early warning system to me and also for the specialist nurses in charge of my care. Without the remote telemonitoring I would be running back and forward to the GPs’ surgery all the time to have things checked out,” he explained.

“Having my signs monitored by a nurse means any changes in my condition are dealt with immediately and this has prevented me from being admitted to hospital – in the past I’ve had to spend six days in hospital any time I’m admitted with a chest infection.

 “The telemonitoring is not only reassuring for me, it also gives me more control over managing my own condition and as a result I have less upheaval in my life, and I’m less of a cost to the health care system. Most importantly, it gives me peace of mind and one less thing to worry about at my age.”

Patients seeking further information about the new telemonitoring service should contact their healthcare professional.

Further information

Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611.

** NOTE: THE REPORT FROM THIS EVENT IS AVAILABLE AT http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/suicide-prevention-protect-life-ministerial-workshop-report **

Notes to the editor
  • In March 2011 the agreement of contracts for remote telemonitoring was announced by the Public health Agency (PHA) on behalf of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS);European Centre for Connected Health (ECCH) in PHA; TF3 and five HSC Trusts. The award of the contract represented an investment of £18m by the DHSSPS in the management of long-term conditions.
  • The European Centre for Connected Health http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/directorate-nursing-and-allied-health-professions/european-centre-connected-health,now known as the Centre for Connected Health and Social Care, was established to promote improvements in patient care through the use of technology, and to fast track new products and innovation in the Health and Social Care system in Northern Ireland.The primary purpose of the CCHSC is to improve the patient and client experience, and to provide better quality and more effective care. By supporting the more efficient delivery of services, it will also enable the healthcare system to respond.
  • TF3, a consortium of Turnstall Healthcare, Fold Telecare and S3 Group, are implementing this large scale remote telemonitoring service, for patients with heart and respiratory conditions, diabetes and those who have suffered a stroke. The service is delivered by the TF3 consortium in partnership with the Health and Social Care Trusts. Chronic disease in Northern Ireland affects 75% of people over 75 and around 72% of acute bed days and 69% of health and social care spend is related to chronic disease.
  • Chronic disease in Northern Ireland affects 75% of people over 75 and around 72% of acute bed days and 69% of health and social care spend is related to chronic disease.