Industry workshops with NHS 'pathfinders', who will identify the first 100,000 patients to benefit from the government’s 3millionlives commitment, start this month.
The government has committed to work with industry to ensure that at least 3m people with long-term conditions can benefit from the use of telehealth and telecare.
Telecare Services Association chief executive Trevor Single told eHealth Insider that a project to identify the first 100,000 patients is underway.
“We’re not going to achieve 3m overnight, but the first 100,000 are crucial to embedding this and moving this forward,” he added.
There are 15,000-20,000 telehealth users in the UK and 1.7m users of telecare.
Single said NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson went out to each of the strategic health authorities to identify the 'pathfinders', who will be looking at procuring telehealth or telecare for cohorts of 10,000-20,000 patients.
“They are saying ‘we are willing to work to see if we can drive this forward - we have looked at it [telehealth/telecare] and think it’s right for us’,” he said.
A “handful” of pathfinders will start workshops with representatives from the 3ML industry group this month and he expects more to follow on soon.
The group has prepared a statement outlining what they think a generic business model should look like in order to take telehealth and telecare forward “at scale.”
The model does not involve up-front capital cost, but does require a long-term commitment from commissioners to allow time to prove the technologies’ benefits.
Industry would provide an end-to-end managed service, including risk stratification, profiling, installation of equipment and monitoring of patients, for a base monthly fee.
There would also be an “outcome reward” component paid out when suppliers can prove that they are better managing patients and saving money for the health system.
Single said the pathfinders and industry will work to define what their expectations are and get projects off the ground. He added that the industry group does not want to be “seen as a cartel” and will release the findings of the workshops.
Commissioners will run open procurement exercises to find suitable suppliers for their projects.
As there will be various components to these tenders, Single expected consortia of suppliers to emerge to deliver the service.
He expected pathfinders to start to identify patients at the beginning of the next financial year.
“That’s the real challenge, finding patients to get up to speed, but there’s a strong commitment from the pathfinders to do this,” he said.
The 3ML industry group has 20 individual funders including individual companies and four trade associations. Reports suggest that companies had to pay £10,000 to join the group with an uncapped commitment after that.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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