Secondary Care

Leicestershire telehealth project saves £117,550

A three-year programme began in January of this year, taking 50 patients at any one time living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Every patient taking part completes an online questionnaire each morning. The intelligent software uses an advanced algorithm, coupled with electronic sensors to measure: heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation levels. If the data collected raises cause for concern, the patient will receive a call from a specialist nurse who can make further, more detailed enquiries, give advice and if necessary arrange a visit.

The award-winning 12-month pilot project saved the NHS £117,550, after all costs were included, seeing a 67% reduction in emergency admissions to hospital.

One of the patients on the scheme said: “The equipment I use daily is simple and lets me communicate with the COPD team. That makes me feel secure and comfortable, and has really helped me get over the infections quicker.”

Dr Sudip Ghosh, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s clinical director for specialist services and community hospitals, said the early indications were positive: “In the initial pilot scheme, one patient had been admitted to hospital five times. In the six months following he was admitted only once. “Taking this and working with a larger group of individuals will enable us to better inform future local health service provision. We will be able to say more once the full evaluation has been completed.”

The telehealth lung project is a collaboration with Leicester-based Spirit Healthcare. Speaking about the project, Tim Loveridge, managing director clinical services from Spirit, said: “Spirit works tirelessly to ensure that technology successfully integrates with local health services to produce positive results. In this case, the implementation of our remote health monitoring system has enabled patients to better manage their own health. The tangible results are seen not only in cost savings but also in the reduction of COPD hospital admissions.”

Although Decisions with Value is being officially launched at the Parliamentary event on July 18, it has already published an initial report called Kickstarting Value in the NHS – which included details of an earlier LPT-Spirit telehealth project. The group call for incremental improvements to increase value and outcomes for patients across the NHS.