Mobile healthcare can reduce pressure on NHS primary care service

Date: 17 Jun 2014

Category: Services

New data from Bristol CCG show that mobile healthcare can reduce pressure on NHS primary care services and improve patient self-management

According to recent data,  mobile healthcare can reduce phone and face-to-face contact with community nurses by a total of 26 per cent after just one month.  Over a six month period, it can reduce phone contact with GP practices by 60 to 100 per cent and face-to-face contact by 48 to 68 per cent.

The data were gathered by Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which entered into a three year partnership with Safe Patient Systems in September 2011. Its scheme was then the most ambitious of its type in England outside the Whole System Demonstrator. It has been extended by a year to build on initial positive findings and maximise the benefits to patients.

"Mobile healthcare has the potential to offer an efficient, sustainable, care pathway for the management of patients with long terms conditions”"

- Dr Martin Jones, Chair, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group

Sian Jones, Head of Service Improvement at Bristol CCG, said: “Safe Patient Systems has demonstrated the potential of mobile telehealthcare to increase the productivity of community nursing teams in Bristol while reducing pressure on GP practices. Our patients, two thirds of whom are over 70, have responded well to the technology, which is discreet, non-clinical in appearance and user-friendly.”

At the time of the CCG’s report, over 1,100 Bristol patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or chronic heart failure (CHF) had been enrolled in home healthcare monitoring.

Intervening when patients need us most

Bristol Community Health, a community healthcare provider, is supporting Bristol CCG in the implementation of telehealth. Community Matron Chris Stevens said: “Mobile healthcare has enabled us to adopt new working practices. Rather than spending time on routine monitoring visits, we are now proactive in the care of patients who are at high risk of exacerbation and unplanned hospital admission, intervening at the time when they need us most.”

Safe Patient Systems’ technology platform enables patients to adopt self-care behaviours, stepping up their own treatment when their symptoms or vital signs deteriorate. According to the data from Bristol CCG, 53 per cent of required treatment changes were initiated by the patient rather than a clinician.

Simple, patient-friendly and flexible

Paul Hitchcock, Service Development Director at Safe Patient Systems, said: “We’ve worked hard to make our Safe Mobile Care platform simple, patient-friendly and flexible. We partnered with Bristol to develop a ‘light touch’ approach to obtain just the right amount of patient data to inform decisions and support better management. This evaluation confirms that mobile healthcare can help patients on their journey to independence while reassuring them that their health is being monitored.”

According to a sample of 30 Bristol patients, 91 per cent said they felt somewhat or very confident that they could manage their own health prior to scheme entry, rising to 100 per cent following completion.