Telehealth uses technology to empower people to manage their own health and wellness.
Telehealth encompasses a wide range of services from text messaging and telephone-based coaching to remote patient monitoring of vital signs. The technologies range from highly adapted wireless devices accessible to people with basic IT skills, to highly interactive services linking wireless medical devices to smart phone applications.
While most telehealth systems reflect the need to collect and transmit patient data, there is a general trend towards more interactive services which help to inform patients and encourage adherence to self-care regimes.
See PA's video comments on the Whole Systems Demonstrators report from one of the largest telehealth trials in the world.
Success factors for the future - George MacGinnis
Implications for the future of healthcare- Ivan McConnell
So what is stopping a wider adoption of telehealth? Some of the obstacles are common barriers to change in healthcare such as a paucity of high-quality evidence, limited knowledge and therefore acceptance by the professions, and dysfunctional reward systems which pay for work done rather than outcomes achieved. There are also real concerns around privacy and security for medical information.
Others issues include the scalability of the current technologies, particularly around the lack of interoperability and integration with core health IT systems. These limitations restrict the scope of services to very specific audiences, creating issues of inequity.
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Realising the potential of telehealth
To realise the potential of telehealth healthcare providers will have to take a pragmatic approach to implementation, building capability and capacity rapidly in order to meet the wider expectations for health system reform. This will require:
a vision which sets the development agenda, clearly identifying the benefits and priorities for healthcare providers and patients.
laying the foundations for scalable services within the limitation of current technology
expanding accessibility by working collaboratively to shape technology enhancements
PA Consulting Group has been at the forefront of developments in telehealth. We have provided innovation, project management and technical expertise to lead the Assistive Technology Programme for UK NHS Connecting for Health, supporting large scale telehealth and telecare demonstrators and driving global efforts in interoperability. We helped develop a next-generation remote monitoring platform, delivered a web-based diabetes monitoring solution for NHS Wales and supported the UK Department of Health to develop policies for improving the management of long-term conditions.
We are helping health insurers in the United States to develop their approach to mobile telehealth (Mhealth) solutions
To discuss strategies for maximising telehealth in healthcare services, please contact us now.