Man with Monitor

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust in the UK has successfully installed Honeywell’s multipatient monitoring technology in residential care homes in the region to decrease avoidable hospital admissions, the trust has announced.

According to the NHS, people with long-term conditions use 69% of the primary and acute care budget in England and account for half of all inpatient hospital bed days. This motivated the trust trial the telehealth programme from 2009.

The programme started with 30 monitors, which were used by patients suffering from heart failure, respiratory conditions and other long-term illnesses to assess the efficacy of telehealth in preventing hospital admissions.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust advanced nurse practitioner Donald Lumb said that one of the aims of the pilot was to investigate the broader potential of telehealth and ways of using it beyond monitoring patients with long-term conditions.

"We explored its application monitoring patients with an acute illness and titration of medications, where the trend reports that can be generated were particularly useful," Lumb said.

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"The ability to collect objective data such as vital signs, rather than just the experience of the care home staff, had given us a better chance of ascertaining what the problem was and how it can be treated effectively to prevent an admission to hospital."

The HomMed Genesis monitors with a card reader help healthcare centre to monitor many patients in a single location, such as residential care homes or GP surgeries, making it suitable for group monitoring in care homes.

Following the submission and review of a formal business case, NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust received funding to continue the telehealth programme in early 2011.

The programme aims to equip nurses, clinicians and patients with solutions to identify early warning signs and treat patients, preventing hospitalisation.

Caption: Honeywell HomMed Genesis monitors allow patients to check their blood pressure.