COMMERCIAL: NHS Somerset has awarded a £1.2m telehealth contract to Safe Patient Systems.

Over the next three years around 4,000 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart disease and diabetes will benefit from daily remote clinical monitoring using innovative touch-screen mobile phone technology.

The phones prompt patients to complete clinically validated questionnaires and automatically capture relevant vital signs using wirelessly connected monitoring devices.

Reponses are automatically sent in “real time” from the device to Safe Mobile Care Triage Management software. If these indicate that a patient’s condition may be worsening, an automatic alert is generated and sent to a nurse or doctor. They will then advise the patient what course of action should be taken.

Piloted by South Birmingham PCT with 100 COPD and chronic heart disease patients across a 12-month period, the system delivered reductions of up to 87 per cent in unplanned hospital admissions and net savings of up to £4,000 per patient per annum across the patient group.