O2 Health extends its mobile health offering with Health at Home, a telehealth service that helps people with long-term conditions to feel in control of their health and enables clinicians to take a more tailored approach to individual patient needs.
Using mobile and web-based technology, Health at Home is a complete service that includes a secure software platform for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to remotely monitor their patient’s health, and a range of everyday mobile devices that patients use to monitor their symptoms. Available on a wide range of computers, tablets and smartphones, Health at Home is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing IT systems and equipment within healthcare organisations.
Currently long-term conditions account for up to 70% of primary and secondary care budgets. With the number of people in the UK who have a long-term condition anticipated to rise 23% over the next 25 years, healthcare services will come under increasing pressure. At the same time, budgets are shrinking, so healthcare organisations must find more efficient ways to care for long-term conditions – all while improving the quality of care and choice for patients. Telehealth is expected to be one way of helping to alleviate the pressures on the healthcare system.
Health at Home’s secure platform allows HCPs to monitor patients’ readings, set bespoke symptom surveys, provide educational materials and communicate with them directly. Patients are provided with a tablet computer connected to the mobile network and pre-loaded with the Health at Home software as well as relevant smart monitoring devices including pulse oximeters, weight scales and blood pressure monitors.
Patients take regular readings from the smart devices which are sent via bluetooth directly to the tablet and then with one touch of a button, the information is sent to securely to the O2 Health server. HCPs sign in through a secure website, where they can monitor the readings and take action if appropriate. All information is graphically represented, helping HCPs to monitor trends and set appropriate personalised care plans according to the data.
This data is also available to patients so that they are also able to track their own symptoms and readings to learn more about their condition and how to manage it. Using mobile technology also means patients are not confined them to their homes and a broader range of people of all ages can access the Health at Home service.
Health at Home is currently being used to monitor patients with COPD and heart failure through NHS Lothian and North Somerset Community Partnership where, in particular initial findings have shown that the average length of hospital stay has decreased by 59 percent in a small COPD trial group.
Nikki Flanders, O2 Health managing director said: “Mobile technology is just a part of our lives today – we shop, bank, work, communicate, are entertained through smartphones and tablets – so using this kind of technology to monitor our health is a natural evolution. The beauty of Health at Home is its flexibility and accessibility, for all parties, from the patients through to their HCP and the healthcare service in its entirety.
“Health at Home uses everyday consumer technology that patients and HCPs will find easy to use, whereas previously, telehealth has struggled to find its feet thanks to often complex and confusing systems foreign to both patients and HCPs alike. Similarly, as Health at Home is web-based, it works with existing IT systems, so major investment in infrastructure and the disruption this can cause is just not an issue for healthcare organisations.
“This latest launch is about O2 Health continuing to deliver on our promise to put patients at the centre of care.”
Health at Home is the second product to be launched by O2 Health that was developed in conjunction with Telefónica Digital’s Health Research & Development team in Granada. eHealth is one of the key digital service focus areas for Telefónica’s new digital business, which has been formed to create new opportunities in the digital world.