Realising the potential for telemedicine

Impact Review

Focus on: digital health Mark Avery, Director of Health Informatics at Eastern AHSN, outlines the progress made in the past year of using telemedicine and how we can build on it in the future Enabling online consultations in primary care A welcome outcome of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the rapid acceleration of the use of digital technology to enable clinicians to deliver care and monitor patients remotely often referred to as telemedicine. In 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan1 highlighted digitally enabled primary and outpatient that needed to be overcome to enable digital tools to be rolled out at scale. Some of the key elements of our impact in this area are summarised in the panel, left. towards understanding the impact of telemedicine over the past year and the potential for the future. But Protection of vulnerable patients for many patients who cannot or would rather not travel but it reduces the risk of infections spreading. Vulnerable patients, including those with multiple long-term conditions or compromised immune systems, can be treated safely in their own homes while saving clinicians travel time. Case study: Telemedicine in care homes The coronavirus crisis meant that many traditional ways of working were no longer possible, particularly in care homes. GPs were restricted from visiting care homes because of the risk of infection and crosscontamination between patients and sites. within the assessments and communicate the results to healthcare professionals. This includes the monitoring of CCGs across the region, working with them to identify and distribute the technology to an initial 35 care input from care homes. and by creating a network of peers across sites, we broke down silos between NHS and care home Securely sharing of patient information between clinicians Digital technology not only allows the sharing of information between patients and their GP, it also to be accessed securely by caregivers, from GPs to acute care, ambulance to mental health, ensuring that clinicians have the full information they need when making clinical decisions and saving time. partner to enable shared care records across all trusts and primary care providers in their local system by the end of 2021. In emergency situations, every second counts. If specialist clinicians can be connected to care teams instantly, it can improve decision-making and hopefully patient outcomes. or interventions and many patients will still need to be taken to hospital as soon as possible, technology often has the power to enable treatment to start sooner. Click here to read more about the Stroke Telemedicine Programme Case study: Using telemedicine to identify stroke mimics past few years, in which 12 registered paramedics education and training on using the The support we got from Eastern AHSN was vital in embedding the technology in our care homes videoconferencing app on mobile devices, which This enables paramedics to get clinical advice from a specialist stroke consultant to help identify if they have further tests and treatment. In 2020, a feasibility study based on the pilot led to pathways in the region. The evaluation estimated this telemedicine service delivered a cost saving compared to Telemedicine Partnership is launching a service in 2021, NHS England (2019). The NHS Long Term Plan. London: NHS England. 1 data and technology in how it delivers care. Telemedicine is already having a huge impact on care Reference Share this article Get in touch Learn how we can support healthcare providers to embed proven patient safety initiatives and innovations here