Cheshire and Merseyside to launch tender for new telehealth platform

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, working with Health Innovation North West Coast, is preparing to launch a tender for a new telehealth platform, with the aim of procuring a flexible system capable of connecting with “more existing and future applications and hardware – such as novel remote monitoring equipment or consumer devices that haven’t yet been adopted or even brought to market.”

Engagement work has been carried out with suppliers and stakeholders, including holding events for telehealth providers to showcase their solutions, carrying out interviews with “key contacts”, and conducting online surveys with existing telehealth users to understand their needs.

Job shadowing was also carried out to understand current processes and areas for improvement, whilst nine local authorities were engaged across the region to ensure their requirements could be incorporated to enable future integration.

This engagement work has resulted in “approximately 50 requirements for potential incorporation into the service specification”, which will form part of the upcoming tender.

Peter Almond, head of telehealth services in Cheshire and Merseyside, commented: “We wanted innovation to be at the heart of telehealth services in Cheshire and Merseyside, so it made good sense to bring in Health Innovation NWC. Through their engagement work with suppliers, patients, clinicians, and telehealth staff, we feel we’ve captured everything we need to make the specification for the future service the best that it can be.”

The tender is set to be published on 31 May with a closing date of 5 July, and an announcement about the successful provider is expected around October.

NHS England has shared plans to increase virtual ward use with NHSE correspondence sent to every local hospital and health system setting out actions hoped to increase urgent and emergency care performance, including plans for a new virtual wards operational framework and funding incentives to support front door services and flow through emergency departments.

In a recent HTN Now webinar, John Kosobucki, CEO of OX.DH, presented how their cloud-native OX. waiting room component is revolutionising virtual healthcare consultations by leveraging the national Microsoft tenant, sharing case studies and future plans for virtual consultations.