Simon Arnold, Chief Customer Officer at Tunstall Group (pictured above, second left), discusses the growth of Telemonitoring NI, a service that supports people with long-term health and care needs in Northern Ireland.
Telemonitoring NI is a service provided by TF3 consortium (Tunstall, Fold and S3 Group) in conjunction with the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland and the Centre for Connected Health & Social Care. Telemonitoring NI enables individuals to be at the centre of their care and promotes better outcomes for the user, carer and family members. Patients take their vital signs readings and answer questions about their health on a daily basis. Results are then transmitted via the telehealth home unit to the monitoring centre. Readings outside of the individual limits set for a patient will raise an alert on the system allowing a clinician to proactively intervene. Clinicians are also able to log into the system remotely to view readings, enabling them to provide remote care and identify trends over time. Many people who use the service find it helps them understand more about their condition/s. Many users take their readings every day and know what these should or shouldn’t be – this is a great support for greater understanding and effective self-management of conditions by patients. Many people tell us that this gives them confidence to help manage their condition/s and understand symptoms and responses. Many also feel reassured knowing their readings are being monitored daily and that a nurse can be alerted.
Telemonitoring NI is a big success and has supported over 3,000 patients since the service started. Reflecting this success, last week we had a ministerial visit from Health Minister Jim Wells, along with Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary for Health, and Dr Michael McBride, CMO and CEO of Belfast HSC Trust (pictured above and below).
The Minister was very impressed by what we are able to do from a service perspective and heard from the perspectives of professionals and service users about how they have benefited from the service. The team was also surprised by the cost of the service – which costs less per day than a cup of coffee! You can read more about the visit and what the Minister said on the Telemonitoring NI website.
One million days of telehealth monitoring
Telemonitoring NI started in December 2011 and last November we saw the service deliver its one millionth day of telehealth monitoring, supporting 3,300 of patients with a range of long-term conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, stroke and diabetes.
We are three and a half years into a six year programme and so far we have provided services to thousands of patients in their own homes and triaged tens of millions of pieces of data with only a small percentage of patients needing to be passed into the health service as a result of the clinical triage service we are offering. This reduces the burden on the local health system.
We’re increasingly seeing health and social care shape their services around the needs of the individual, and telemonitoring puts the patient at the centre of their care. TF3’s clinically-led service supports patients from referral to discharge, encouraging engagement with health professionals and making better use of resources, as well as enabling patients to actively manage their condition more effectively.
Telemonitoring NI also delivers a telecare service, which uses sensors around the home to raise an alert at the monitoring centre if they sense a problem such as smoke, flood or a fall. Users can also wear a personal pendant which will enable them to call for help from anywhere in their home 24 hours a day. More than 2,700 people in Northern Ireland are currently benefitting from telecare support.
As we continue to progress the service, achieving a million days of telehealth monitoring along with last week’s visit, demonstrates that we have already realised much since setting out in 2011!
Find out more about Telemonitoring NI
Photo, top, L-R: Jim O’Donoghue, TF3, Simon Arnold, TF3, Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Jim Wells, Health Minister, Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary, Kevin McSorley, TF3
Photo, bottom, L-R: Jim Wells, Health Minister, Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Barbara Taylor, Fold, John McLean, Fold, Kevin O’Brien, SET