Technology in healthcare
The nature of healthcare is changing, to a far more consumerist position. Our citizens have an expectation that they can access healthcare and care professionals when and where they need them, rather than when they happen to be available.
The UK population is increasingly diverse. Language, age and other factors mean that traditional methods of communication between clinician and patient are changing. The growth in video consultations and the access to high speed broadband connections and smartphones means that patients now demand a modern healthcare system that can interact with them in a modern way. The growth in social media and the use of video technology presents new opportunities as well as challenges.
What digital healthcare or telehealthcare
There are four main types of digital healthcare used throughout the UK.
- Telecareand Telehealth involve the use of some form of technology to assist people in their daily lives and is usually monitored at a distance.
- Mobile appsare a new and innovative tool in enhancing self-care within individuals and concentrates on self-management.
- Teleconsultationsgive patients convenient access to a clinician (or other healthcare professionals) by a non-face-to-face consultation at home. It also provides an electronic means of communication between different clinicians from different settings to discuss patient treatment/diagnosis.
The advantages of digital healthcare from a patient’s perspective are their increased ability and confidence to self- manage their health condition(s). Also an improvement in behaviours learned such as better lifestyle habits and compliance with medication and their improved access to health care if they have commitments that limit usual access arrangements e.g. because they are carers, work shifts or away from home base.
The national vision for digital delivery of care is that every person with a long term condition(s) should be routinely considered for support using appropriate technology to help them or their carers as well as health and social care professionals better manage the patient’s condition.
So if digital delivery of care is to be sustainable on a wide scale, investment in technology enabled services should be justified by improvements in patients’ experiences, their clinical outcomes, and savings from avoided hospital emergency admissions and outpatient activity, or shorter stays in hospital.
Telehealth and Flo
Telehealth is using technology within health and wellbeing related services to enable a patient to send their information from their home to clinicians in the relevant setting (hospital, general practice/community/mental health settings). This information is used to support decision making around personalised care planning and appropriate interventions for the patients treatment.
Telehealth can be used as an automated stand-alone service or it can be linked to a responsive service (being monitored in real time or at infrequent intervals) and can enable a clinical team to establish a ‘virtual ward’ of specific patients with remote monitoring of their vital signs. Devices can be used in or away from a patient’s home and can also record medical readings e.g. blood pressure, weight, and temperature.
Quite simply, Florence or Flo as we like to call her is a very easy to use service designed by professionals inside the NHS to provide support and advice for a patient to manage their own health condition. Flo combines the expertise of the patient’s healthcare team and the convenience of their own mobile phone to give them prompts and advice to act on. If the patient needs a little more assistance Flo helps them to monitor their vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and many others.
Videos about Flo Telehealth:
A general introduction to widespread applications of Flo in all settings
Automatic camera for dementia
Annette relays the benefits of using the Flo service and Autographer
Telehealth for COPD in Stoke Patient and nurse perspective
Telehealth for COPD in Stoke NHS commissioner perspective
An Interview with Sian Clark on widespread implementation
Using Florence Telehealth to manage various patient conditions in the community and in nursing homes
Using Flo Telehealth to identify patients who have white-coat hypertension prior to surgery
Raised blood pressure noted opportunistically
Using Flo Telehealth to manage the recovery process for patients with mental health conditions
Flo in pregnancy
Using Florence Telehealth for the management of gestational diabetes
Using Flo Telehealth to manage hypertension during pregnancy
Interviews regarding the use of Flo Telehealth:
- European Code of Practice for Telehealth Services 2014. Telescope, 2014