NHS 24 teams up with Scottish Centre for Telehealth to give patients web access to consultants

Carolyn Churchi

Published on 2 Oct 2009

Patient with  telehealth webcam
Patient with telehealth webcam

Patients across Scotland will be able to see a consultant over a webcam and have their symptoms assessed ­electronically as part of a move to roll out the use of new technology in the

health service.

People in rural areas of Aberdeenshire and in Orkney are already using the technology at their GP surgery or community hospital to seek advice from doctors at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Now the Scottish Centre for Telehealth will be integrated into NHS 24 to expand the use of technology in patient care across the country, and to allow experts to treat patients’ conditions from afar.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “New technology offers some incredibly exciting possibilities for ­giving people better access to healthcare in the 21st century.

“The Scottish Centre for Telehealth has already been helping individual NHS boards devise ways of using technology to reach out to patients in our more ­isolated areas, and those with ­

mobility issues.

“But by integrating it within NHS 24, we can ensure that use of telehealth is spread right across Scotland and benefits patients in all our communities.”

Read more about article on Scottish Cantre for Telehealth

Consultant physician Andrew Whitehouse discusses the problem of "bed-blocking"

Here is an opportunity to use Technology more effectively.

Andrew Whitehouse
VIEWPOINT
By Dr Andrew Whitehouse
Consultant physician, West Midlands


Elderly man in hospital
Elderly people have to remain in hospital until social care is arranged

Bed-blocking is an ongoing problem for the health service, with elderly patients stuck in hospital waiting for their long-term care to be arranged.

In this week’s Scrubbing Up health column, Dr Andrew Whitehouse says the answer is to merge health and social services budgets – so elderly people get more streamlined care.

Why do we waste so much money treating our elderly so badly?

Every time I do my ward rounds I find, like other physicians, that roughly a third of my patients do not need to be in hospital.

We deal with the medical and rehabilitation needs of our elderly rather efficiently and we agree the way forward with the patient and her relatives.

When discharge is prescribed, we advise the social services department of any care needs the patient has.


It costs about £700 a day to keep a patient in hospital, and about £700 a week for a decent full-time nursing home placement

This may be for a home care visitor package to assist dressing or washing. It may be for residential or nursing home placement.

Then the wait begins.

The social services department has its own procedures for deciding on what, when and how to deliver, and of course we comply with these procedures diligently and promptly.

Indeed we begin to think about the plan for discharge at the point of admission.

But despite this cooperation long delays are routine; delays which dreadfully distress the elderly and their families for whom these may be precious last months or years, delays which result in hospital acquired infections and depression, and which mean the beds cannot be used for those who really should be in hospital.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Fife Council’s Telecare programme uses satellite technology to monitor people with dementia

Success in tracking dementia sufferers

A PILOT project in Fife, enabling people with dementia to enjoy more independent lives whilst at the same time giving their families peace of mind, is being hailed a major success.

For a number of months, as part of its wider Telecare programme, Fife Council’s social work service, in partnership with the region’s health service and police, has been monitoring the benefits of using satellite tracking technology to trace dementia sufferers should they become disorientated.

Five people across Fife—two in Glenrothes and the others in Gauldry, Crossford and Kirkcaldy—have now been given GPS (global positioning system) devices as part of the pilot, meaning that family members, carers and even the police can quickly pinpoint the wearer if they become lost.

The matchbox-sized sensors enable a person with early-stage dementia to get out and about with the confidence that a family member or other carer can offer assistance if needed.

Such has been the project’s success thus far, that John Honeyman, training and marketing adviser with the Fife Telecare Programme, said he hoped the technology would become more widespread and eventually become the norm.

“This is only running as a pilot but we want what we’re doing to become as routine as meals on wheels or community alarms,” he said.

“People know these terms so we want the term Telecare to be the same so people know and readily understand the benefits of it.

“The potential cost benefits are clear in that if, for example, there was an emergency situation where the police had to stand up several officers to conduct a search, that could cost them a lot of money and resources.

“But moving away from the cost side of things, in terms of the effect this illness has on the person but also their family, that’s where we’re looking to measure the impact.

To read the report CLICK HERE

Scottish NHS to be first paperless health service in the world

Hospitals roll out hand-held computers giving doctors and nurses instant access to database By Tom Gordon

SCOTLAND IS set to become the first country in the world with an entirely paperless health service, as wireless hand-held computers allow doctors and nurses to check and update patient records wherever they go.

The machines let staff move from bedside to bedside downloading patient histories, test results, and digital x-rays on the electronic equivalent of a clipboard called a mobile clinical assistant (MCA), or toughbook.

Information is delivered through dedicated hospital wi-fi systems, with access to the most sensitive information restricted to senior medical professionals.

To read the rest of this article CLICK HERE

NHS Scotland, wireless ICT and moving paperless,

Wireless computing and homegrown software turn may turn Scoland’s NHS paperless. When PDA’s didn’t work, Scotland’s NHS turned to Intel designed Medical Computer Assistants or Mobile Clinical Assistants (MCA). These together with Coupled or Computer Access on Wheels (COWs) and a lot of local Scottish software may move the NHS to the first paperless health service.
Read more of this article HERE