Mr Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), visited the TF3 TelemonitoringNI centre in Holywood on its first anniversary, to see first-hand the fantastic support being offered to over 1,250 people who live with long-term conditions in Northern Ireland.
The Minister learnt more about the clinical triage service launched a year ago, which is delivered by nurses who monitor readings such as blood pressure and weight on a daily basis. This remote management allows patients who would otherwise have to travel to their GP or hospital to be monitored in their own homes.
The service, provided by TF3* in conjunction with the five Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCTs), is funded by the DHSSPS and the Centre for Connected Health and Social Care, (CCHSC) part of the Public Health Agency (PHA) and set to benefit up to 20,000 people over six years by enabling better control over their own health and improving care outcomes.
Health Minister, Edwin Poots, said:
Telemonitoring NI continues to grow and expand. To date, over 1,000 patients benefit from the programme and our aim is to have 20,000 patients enrolled by 2018. The programme can help to give thousands of people greater control over managing their condition. For many, mobility is problematic, so having the facility to monitor their vital signs at home brings its advantages.
I was pleased to learn that Telemonitoring NI achieved considerable success at the recent prestigious Telecare Services Association Crystal Awards, winning both the innovation award and the overall award in telehealth. This is an outstanding achievement, which shows that Northern Ireland is very much at the forefront in this area of healthcare technology and service change and I would like to congratulate all involved in helping to gain this recognition. It is a fitting milestone in the first year of our telemonitoring service, and we all look forward to its continued success and growth in the years to come.
COPD patient Mr Howard who was one of the first people to receive the service says it is a godsend.
It is so convenient and reliable. I haven't had to go into hospital with a chest infection for over a year. The stats are closely monitored and any change - a nurse will call to me. It's reliable and means I'm not running up and down to the GP.
In November this service was recognised as leading the way in innovative service development and delivery throughout the UK by winning the Telecare Services Association’s Crystal Awards.
Kevin McSorley, Service Delivery Director at TF3, says:
I am delighted to welcome the Minister to see telemonitoring in action. This month marks the end of the first twelve months of operation, a year in which we have supported over 1,250 patients and we are delighted that the telehealth and telecare services will effectively become enabling services mainstreamed through the policy direction set in Transforming Your Care. Although technology enabled, the service is all about people – patients and clients at home, supported by trained staff who provide care and support. We are delighted at the visit today to meet our nursing team who deliver this new model of care which is leading the way throughout the UK.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the PHA said:
Telemonitoring is an excellent example of how modern technology can help deliver a better service for the patient. This allows them to take control and manage their condition with the confidence of knowing that their vital signs are still being monitored by a healthcare professional. It also allows more efficient use of the healthcare professional’s time and skills. Today’s visit proved to be a great success allowing us to demonstrate to the Health Minister how far the service has come in its first year.
The service has an ambitious programme for development and next year plans to accelerate the uptake of telehealth into broader clinical conditions and expand into telecare.
For further information please log onto www.telemonitoringni.info