Embrace innovation, embrace telehealth – is it really that simple? Patients must be on board with their treatment too.

Like it or loathe it, the new Health and Social Care Bill has almost finished its stormy passage through Parliament and is shortly to become enshrined in law. But despite the large number of iterations and changes that have been made to it, what still remains is the importance the bill places on patient power.

Or, put another way, ensuring patients are able to have more control of their care above and beyond simply choosing their provider.

The evidence is now overwhelming that greater patient engagement directly correlates to improved outcomes in the same way that high staff motivation in hospitals significantly reduces mortality rates. 

Telehealth is increasingly being recognised as an innovative technology that neatly dovetails into the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention drive and has the power to increase patient engagement, improve outcomes and reduce health delivery costs.

Sounds good so far, so what’s the catch? The catch is that telehealth will only deliver real quality to both patients and clinicians if it is deployed properly to the right patients, with the right clinical protocols and has the right supporting technologies and services.

So, to adapt a quote from Plato’s Phaedrus, “things are not always what they seem”; or put another way, not all telehealth is the same and some of the unexpected non-headline grabbing whole systems demonstrator results recently presented at the King’s Fund telehealth conference in March might bear testament to this.

At Telehealth Solutions we believe that the concept of “helpfulness” is paramount, by which I mean that the technology has to be friendly and value is gained through its use. For example, the ability of patients to receive feedback on their health when they have just completed a protocol; or engage with their clinician either through secure video conferencing or a messaging service; the ability to view educational videos on their HomePod; schedule hospital or GP appointments or have motivational/coaching interviews with a specialist triage nurse.

All of these activities help the patient engage more strongly, adhere to their care plan, learn how to manage their condition more effectively and so derive the best value and experience from their telehealth system.

If you would like to know more about embracing the brave new world of innovation through telehealth please call Mike Evans at Telehealth Solutions on freephone 0800 8600 768 or visit www.thsl.com