A ‘telewoundcare’ solution, being used in Hull, allows GPs to double the amount of patients they can see on a monthly basis, saving the NHS thousands of pounds a year. It also offers patients with skin problems such as suspicious moles or wounds a quicker diagnosis and a more structured care and skin treatment plan.
The online system – Medsystem Online – allows consultants to care for wounds remotely without having to meet patients face-to-face, a service which is set to save the practice £500,000 a year and could potentially save the NHS service in England £2.5m annually.
All the GP has to do is take a photo of the wound or mole and upload it to the server with the patient’s medical information, ready for a consultant to make a diagnosis and advise a bespoke treatment plan.
Nurses can also use the service to carry out the consultation in the community, which means a patient can have a specialist diagnosis without having to leave the comfort of their home.
Having an immediate diagnosis by a specialist removes several steps in the care pathway. It also cuts out unnecessary surgery and referrals, which could take anywhere up to 12 months; by that time the wound may have deteriorated or the infection may have spread to other areas.
Wound care is one of the highest costs to the NHS through both misdiagnoses and incorrect referrals. It can take up a huge amount of nursing time and lead to infections, slow healing and in some cases admissions to hospitals. It is also the third highest cost behind heart disease and cancer.
Dr Britton, who is using the service in his practice in Hull, said: “Telewoundcare has revolutionised the way I treat wounds in my practice, which is fantastic for my patients. The flexible system even allows patients or community nurses to send me photos of moles on a regular basis so I can monitor it to see if there had been any changes. With simply a computer and internet access I can make a diagnosis for my patients and view their moles wherever I am in the world. At a time when the NHS needs to save money but improve services, telehealth offers the perfect solution.”
Meddserve Online offers very low set-up and running costs and can be easily integrated into hospitals around the world. It is easy to use, offers 100% data protection and uses technology that currently is not being used within the healthcare world. It can be used in both private practices and NHS medical centres and is set to save millions of pounds.
As well as being used in Hull, it is also being used by the Nepalese government, who want to roll the technology out across some of its rural villages.