The service will make it easier for patients to manage their conditions at home and enable clinicians to take action if there is an alert
“Just as digital technology was at the forefront of our response to the pandemic, it will be central to how we rebuild and remobilise the health and social care system as part of the recovery from Covid.” Bryn Sage, chief executive officer, Inhealthcare
NHS Scotland is to make remote monitoring services more widely available, enabling people to record health information in their own homes and send it to clinicians for analysis.
Under a three-year agreement with Inhealthcare, residents will be able to access and participate in local health and care services. The remote monitoring system will enable patients and clinicians to exchange information at different times (rather than in real time), which should reduce waiting times for specialist care and help to avoid unnecessary referrals. Patients will spend less time travelling to and from appointments and will have more opportunity to manage their own conditions.
Health professionals will have access to better data to help them intervene early if necessary. The health service will, it is hoped, benefit from more efficient and effective use of NHS resources and reduced hospital admissions.
The Inhealthcare software analyses readings and trends against a baseline and generates alerts and follow-on messaging when appropriate. Clinicians can review the readings and history and assess the individual’s condition.
Patients can use it to manage a range of illnesses, including hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, depression, malnutrition, cancer and Covid.
The technology is being deployed across Scotland’s health boards. Patients will receive a message prompting them to record health readings. They have a choice of how to submit the readings, including over a mobile app and landline telephone.
The contract forms part of the Scottish government’s Digital Health and Care Strategy to transform and enhance the health and wellbeing of citizens through the use of digital technology.
During the pandemic, Scotland introduced a remote health pathway for people with Covid-19 symptoms. A 2021 study found that it improved access to NHS services and could be safely rolled out to help others. It also found that patients had positive experiences of using the system, which was built using Inhealthcare’s technology.
The research, which was commissioned by the Scottish government, showed that the remote health pathway contributed to increased self-management among patients, improved resource efficiency, and reduced health inequalities with more than twice as many people from disadvantaged areas using the system.
Bryn Sage, chief executive officer at Inhealthcare, said: “Just as digital technology was at the forefront of our response to the pandemic, it will be central to how we rebuild and remobilise the health and social care system as part of the recovery from Covid.”