Patient monitoring  

Barnsley telehealth service monitors heart failure patients in the home

28 March 2006

Barnsley, UK. Barnsley Hospital is trialling an innovative telehealth service that will monitor the health of 40 chronic heart failure patients in their homes over 12 months. It is part of an innovative drive to develop new ways of helping people stay in their own homes and to respond to the growing need for better management of patients with long term conditions. The trial will evaluate whether the service is beneficial for both the patient and service providers.

A Barnsley patient using the Docobo hand-held deviceThe trial will use Docobo’s doc@HOME remote monitoring telehealth service. Patients use a hand-held device in their own homes to answer a range of pertinent health and quality of life questions. This is supplemented with medical parameters including blood pressure and weight on a daily basis. Analysis of this data is performed automatically by the system and the website reviewed by the CHF team. Where issues of concern are apparent patients are telephoned, advice given and medication changed where required. Additionally, if the telephone intervention is not successful then a member of the CHF team (joint hospital and PCT) will visit the patient in their home.

Potentially this approach could reduce hospital re-admissions, enable earlier hospital discharge, and provide improved personalised services to patients. Initial findings have been promising with service user and provider satisfaction high. Consultant Cardiologist Dr Basil Saeed states that “this research is potentially very valuable and is a compliment to the heart failure services which we have been working on for the last 3 years or so."

Over the 12-month pilot study, in addition to the 40 systems in use, the Barnsley research team have recruited a control group with 20 patients to enable comparison with similar people who do not receive the doc@home system. Analysis will then take place and the findings disseminated over the next 18 months. If the research proves successful the aim is to bring this method of care into mainstream use.

The research is led by the Medical Physics department at Barnsley Hospital, Prof Mark Hawley says “we believe these systems could provide improved ways of offering patient led services and are excited about their potential. This study will enable us to understand any benefits to patients and providers as we look to manage the increasing challenge of an ageing population and subsequent rise in those with Long Term Conditions. doc@HOME offered a practical and easy to use solution.”

Adrian Flowerday, CEO of Docobo comments: “The team at Barnsley are one of the first in the UK to equip a significant number of patients with telehealth, and their careful and practical approach to the project is both innovative and bold. We look forward to dissemination of the results and continuing to work with Barnsley over the coming months.”

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