The Liverpool CCG is completing a “rapid expansion” of its telehealth programme.
It follows an £850,000 investment from NHS England to help with the system’s expansion as part of the local NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth is a technology-led nursing service which provides remote home monitoring for patients with long-term health problems such as respiratory, heart and diabetic conditions.
Under this service, a patient uses a smartphone, blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter to take vital sign readings and enter them onto the telehealth system along with other symptoms.
A team of nurses monitor these remotely and triage them to provide advice, support and onward referrals for patients, as required.
The telehealth service, which is provided by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, was already supporting over 2,000 vulnerable patients across the city at a time, before the pandemic began.
However, the organisation says the extra investment will not only allow the telehealth team to quickly expand the service to support up to 6,000 Liverpool patients, but will also provide additional system capacity to enable other CCG areas in Merseyside and Cheshire to develop a similar service.
Peter Almond, programme manager for the Telehealth Service at Mersey Care, explained: “Our team have been contacting local people who aren’t already using telehealth, but we feel might benefit from the extra monitoring and support that telehealth can provide to help them stay well during this time, because they are at higher risk.”
Adding: “We’re aiming to take on another 2,500 living with chronic conditions straight away to help protect them whist they are shielding, as well as providing remote support and monitoring for patients in Liverpool with milder COVID-19 symptoms to help them manage the illness at home and stay out of hospital where possible.”
In addition, the telehealth system is also being used to support patients being discharged from a local hospital after recovering from COVID-19.
The Telehealth Service is commissioned by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, with support from Informatics Merseyside.
The Telehealth software and patient equipment is provided by Docobo Limited.