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Telehealth Set To Become Mainstay of British Health Care System

April 9, 2012 - 5 Comments

Great Britain kicked off the New Year with the initial rollout of an exciting new initiative: making telehealth technologies accessible to patients across the nation.

According to Netdoctor, the telehealth program, which will take five years to completely enact, follows successful trials in small regions of England. Patients with long-term health issues who participated in the pilot had nearly half the death rate of people who did not have access to telehealth devices. Emergency room admissions decreased considerably as well.

Telehealth technology includes such tools as home blood pressure monitors and blood sugar readers that can transmit electronic information to caregivers, saving patients regular trips to their doctors. The convenience offered by telehealth empowers patients to take control of their health and leads to more consistency of care, among other benefits.

But telehealth isn’t just about providing home versions of doctors’ standard devices. Technologies like telepresence play crucial roles in making telehealth beneficial. With telepresence, psychiatric patients can access regular support, and Parkinson’s sufferers can share with their doctors the state of their symptoms. Telepresence ensures the human element of healthcare not only remains available, but also exceeds the quality doctors and patients have come to expect. The telepresence connection eliminates commutes, offers a feasible way to have frequent personal conversations, and in so doing makes it easier for providers and patients to build rapport.

In initiating its telehealth rollout, Great Britain stands to vastly improve the quality and capacity of its health care system. Hopefully telepresence will play a role in the services offered, guaranteeing strong, supportive doctor-patient relationships.

It would be great to see other nations follow suit—would you like to see your country adopt telehealth as a national initiative? Do you use any telehealth technologies already? We’d love to hear your stories!

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  1. I would love to see the US adopt telemedicine but there are barriers such as reimbursements that are still in the process of being recognized. There are tons of rural areas that needs the help and assistance of telemedicine and telepresence.

  2. A national initiative would be exciting. I’m wondering if they are talking about this at #ATA2012. They have a track on model programs, but would be interested to know whether a national initiative is on the docket.

  3. This is coming, no doubt. There are some doctors I talk to who think it’s 15- 20 yrs out so they don’t think much about it. I remind them that it is already here and will be an increasing part of our work. Even now, we see radiology consults done remotely. That has been going on for years. Lab results are commonly shared remotely as well.

    It won’t be long and we will see cameras in the exam room and a doctor will be on the other end of the camera.