Strategic health authorities should take the lead in driving the introduction of treatment innovations such as telehealth, according to a report published by private provider Healthcare at Home.

The report - Lessons from the US: using technology and homecare to improve chronic disease management - is based on the findings of a visit to the US by management consultant Pam Garside and representatives from NHS North West, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust and Healthcare at Home.

“[US] healthcare follows the money, not the population’s health needs. The UK has an opportunity to look beyond this and concentrate on longer term benefits,” it says.

“The coming shift to polyclinics and more care being delivered closer to home offers an unprecedented opportunity to build technological and IT systems into new models of care. If we simply transplant the same model of care used in hospitals to another setting we will not achieve the changes needed,” says the report.

It suggests monitoring technologies incorporating familiar and widespread devices, such as mobile phones and television, are most likely to be adopted by the NHS.

“SHAs - which have access to innovation funds - are ideally placed to lead on much of this system development,” it says.

Another of the report’s findings is that health service managers need more analytical and strategic skills, particularly when working with clinicians to introduce new ways of working.

“NHS management at its senior levels may be perceived as a prestigious career path, but our training does not place sufficient value on analytical competency,” it says. “This skill is urgently needed now as well as for the future, more data-rich, environment”

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