Telehealth moves towards mainstream with ESPO framework
It is good news to see that the procurement of telehealth services is finally being made easier by the new ESPO framework. This comes at a time when the need for something to address the ageing population, with increasing levels of chronic disease, has never been greater.
However, there are two big issues to address to drive success: patient compliance and patient specific models of care.
Compliance can be achieved from solutions that are built around patients' needs, which recognise the limits of their technology skills and use unobtrusive forms of monitoring wherever possible. In this environment non-contact monitoring over an extended period, linked to ergonomically designed apps, can make a big difference.
Patient-specific care needs to be built on the understanding that each person’s physiology is different and that what might be an alarm condition for one is normal for another. Without this, patients can suffer needlessly when genuine emergencies are not recognised, and be inconvenienced by false alarms. Responding to these unnecessary alarms also costs significant time and money, undermining the economic case for telehealth. Early warning systems which utilise machine learning can provide the level of personalised care required by learning a patient’s physiology over an initial training period, and then (with clinician approval) switching to patient-specific alarms.
We will certainly be watching the development of the framework with keen interest and hope that those involved go some way to address the issues we've identified within telehealth.