Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group

Telehealth

"Obviously I’ll never get rid of my condition but I understand it more now – which was one of my goals. and I can manage better as it prompts me when I need to take medication or use my inhaler more. I can definitely say I have seen an improvement in my health." Telehealth Patient Quote

Telehealth allows you to monitor your own health by using electronic devices at home. These devices can monitor a number of things including:

  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Pulse
  • Oxygen levels

Readings are taken and the information is sent through the telephone line to a central secure data point for monitoring.There is evidence that telehealth:

  • Provides you with more independence and control to manage your condition
  • Allows more freedom for you and your carers as some routine hospital and GP visits are unnecessary
  • Uses healthcare staff's time more efficiently by allowing them to monitor your condition and but only visiting when you have a need

See our Telehealth News Updates.

For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

If you would like more information please contact telehealth.project@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

General Telehealth Information

How does Telehealth work?

A Telehealth device, called a Homepod, is installed in the patient’s home and typically connected to a telephone/broadband line or via mobile phone network so that the data collected can be transferred to a central monitoring centre.  Readings are often taken daily, but the frequency can vary and is determined by consultation between patient and clinician.

The homepod is small in size, generally no bigger than a small book, and will have a number of extras attached that can measure readings for:

  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Pulse
  • Temperature
  • Oxygen levels 

Some or all of these readings could help with understanding and managing your condition.

How would this help me manage my condition?

Once the homepod is installed, you will have support from your healthcare professional to discuss the options of your telehealth monitoring and how to read the information you receive. This will include what type of readings you need to take, and how frequently.

Generally your readings will be undertaken daily, at a mutually convenient time and should only take a few minutes each day. You will be able to see your results and because you will have discussed your individual readings with your healthcare professional you will know when to speak to someone about them and who to contact.

Telehealth has helped thousands of patients with similar conditions across the UK and we believe this is a great step forward to help you stay at home, stay healthy and self manage your condition so you have fewer unplanned hospital admissions.

Who can access Telehealth services?

Telehealth has currently been rolled out to those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Chronic Heart Failure (CHF). We are working with others to develop the service into more disease groups.

How can I get access to Telehealth?

Referrals to Telehealth can be made from a GP, community matron, district or practice nurse, an emergency care practitioner or a specialist nurse. Before referral, this health care worker will discuss the Telehealth system with the patient and/or their carer and provide them with a Telehealth leaflet designed to provide more information and to answer any frequently asked questions.

On successful referral the Homepod will be installed into the patient’s home and the monitoring can start.  As Telehealth helps patients, carers and health care workers gain a greater insight into specific conditions, the onus is on the patient to be proactive in their approach in terms of recognising the abnormal readings and taking the appropriate action.  The action will depend on the individual patient and also the level of variance on the readings; however this will be agreed with the health care worker on commencement of Telehealth and as part of the ongoing review.

I like seeing the nurses. She/he normally does these tests for me. If I were to use Telehealth, would I still see them?

You would still see the nurse from time to time for a review of your condition. However, using the equipment will enable you to understand and manage your condition more effectively. Using this equipment in other parts of the UK has made it possible for nursing teams to care for a greater number of patients.  

Technical Questions

I am not technology minded and I don't have a computer, will I be able to use the equipment?

The equipment is easy to use and you will not need any specific technical skills to operate it. You and your carers will be provided with full training at the time of installation and there will also be a reference guide which provides useful information.

Will I be expected to pay for any part of the equipment or for keeping it working?

The equipment will be provided free of charge, whilst you have a clinical need, and will be regularly maintained, again free of charge. If the machine goes wrong there will be support available to ensure the machine can continue monitoring.

What happens if there is a problem with the equipment? 

You should contact Medvivo on 0800 860 0012. This is a freephone number. You can contact the Support Centre in the event of any difficulties you have with using the equipment or if something goes wrong.

I am worried about the security of the information I provide, there have been lots of problems with keeping personal information secure; how will you do so?

The NHS has a duty to ensure that your personal data is kept secure at all times. We have robust systems in place to ensure our legal responsibilities are met.In addition to this no patient identifiable information is stored on the homepod.

Do I have to have a telephone line?

The equipment currently available can be connect ed via telephone line, mobile phone signal or broadband in your home, as long as one of these is available the equipment can be installed.The engineer can use a sim card to connect in the absence of any other signal.

What happens if/when the batteries run out on the scales/blood pressure machine/thermometer?

If there are any problems with any of the equipment at any stage then please call the Telehealth Solutions freephone support number – 0800 860 0893. With regards to batteries, free replacements are sent in the post to you with comprehensive instructions.

Telehealth User Questions

What do I do if I start feeling unwell and/or my readings are above/below my parameters?

If you start to feel unwell or are at all concerned about your readings you should act in the normal way by calling your Key health Worker or by visiting your GP Surgery/calling 999. This should have been explained to you by your Key Health Worker.

What happens when my Key Health Worker goes on holiday? Will someone still pick up my readings?

Your Key Health Worker should always let you know when they are going to be on holiday. In some cases there will be someone else who normally works alongside your Key Health Worker who is able to check your readings in their absence.

What do I do if I am going on holiday?

Simply inform your Key Health Worker and they will make a note of this on your record.

How long do I keep the equipment for?

There is no set time period for patients using Telehealth. No two people are the same and therefore your specific individual targets should be discussed at t

he point of referral and entered onto a Patient Plan for you to keep and refer to when necessary. Your Key Health Worker should discuss with you when you both feel ready for you to stop using the equipment.

What do I do if I decide that I do not need or do not want to use Telehealth any longer?

You are able to stop using Telehealth whenever you like. If this is the case then please ensure that your Key Health Worker is made aware and removal of the equipment can be arranged.

What if I forget to do my readings?

You should contact your Key Health Worker to let them know and take them as soon as you have remembered, continuing as you normally would i.e. weekly or daily readings.

What do I do if I answer one of the questions incorrectly?

You simply use the ‘Back’ button to return to the previous question. Should you have any problems you should finish the test and at the end you should select ‘NO’ to sending the results. You should then re-take the test in the normal way.

What is a Patient Plan and how will it help me?

A Patient Plan should be given to you by your Key Health Worker at the time that they complete the referral form with you. The Patient Plan should be kept next to the equipment once it has been installed for easy reference. This plan is designed specifically for you dependant on your condition. It includes all of the necessary contact numbers should you require help, you can record your individual goals and set your parameters for the readings that you will be taking on a daily/weekly basis. If you have not received a Patient Plan then please contact your Key Health Worker.

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