GP commissioners in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are looking to procure a telemedicine service to support up to 20,000 patients.
A prior information notice says the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly primary care trust want to redesign care pathways and treatment for people living with long-term conditions.
The idea is to create an ‘at scale’ service that can support up to 10,000 concurrent telehealth users and 10,000 concurrent telecoaching users.
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly was one of three sites chosen to participate in the Whole System Demonstrator trial of telehealth and telecare.
A statement provided by the PCT says telehealth has since become an important part of the local healthcare system, with around 750 active users.
Kernow CCG will take over commissioning health services from the PCT in April 2013.
The group has agreed to increase the number of active telehealth service users this year and to introduce telecoaching.
Telecoaching services link patients to healthcare professionals via a range of technology, such as telephones and Skype.
“Publishing the prior information notice is a signal to the telehealth industry that the PCT and Kernow CCG wish to explore the potential of telehealth and telecoaching [as] part of a very different system of care in future,” the statement says.
“This is likely to mean helping people to be more independent of health and social care services and will see health and social care professionals working more efficiently.”
Tamsyn Anderson, lead GP for improved long term conditions management, said improving the care and management of patients with long-term conditions is a priority in the area.
“We were at the forefront of trialling telehealth and are continually learning from it,” she said.
“The next step is to have a dialogue with the industry while at the same time looking at how this technology has been successfully integrated into new long term care models in other parts of the UK.
“It is crucial that future significant investment in telemedicine by the NHS in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is planned into a model of care that is right for our patients and improves outcomes for them.”
The WSD trial focused on patients withchronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and diabetes.
The effectiveness of telehealth services is now being tested for other conditions including falls prevention – by monitoring sudden changes in blood pressure - early detection of urinary tract infections and in supporting patients discharged from hospital.
The prior information notice says the telehealth and telecoaching serviceshould reduce the need for acute management of long-term conditions and reduce avoidable hospital admissions. Potential providers will be invited to a market engagement event in October.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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