Mobile technologies: part of the answer to over-demand on A&Es

Nikki Flanders, MD of O2 Health talks about how O2’s new Health at Home solution can help A&E wards across the country by catching health issues before patients deteriorate.

The urgent and emergency care system in the UK is under severe pressure and is only set to get worse unless there is a major overhaul in policy. Just last week it was reported that A&E patients are ‘being left on trolleys in corridors’.

Nigel Edwards of the King’s Fund identifies some key takeaways for the management of urgent and emergency care in his blog post on the organisation’s recent study for NHS South of England.

One way of dealing with the problem would be if community services and social care were able to respond quickly and flexibly, yet often they have been sorely impacted by the squeezing of purse strings and are unable to step up to the plate.

While the WSD has its failings it did emphasise that A&E admissions could be cut through the use of telehealth. With its benefits and impact being clearly highlighted surely we should be implementing health technologies to drive better health in the community?

Adding capacity is a short term fix not a sustainable solution; we need to reduce the number of A&E admissions by catching health issues before patients deteriorate. This is where our Health at Home mobile technologies come in.

Health at Home is a mobile remote patient monitoring service where patients take their own readings and answer questions about their symptoms via their own ‘smart’ measuring devices and a tablet computer or smart phone.

On the other end, clinicians monitor their patients’ symptoms through a secure website and receive alerts that highlight readings that are not within normal parameters for that person. Based on the detailed health information they have received from the patient’s readings they can make sure the appropriate action is taken when necessary, guaranteeing that those in need are being seen to at the earliest intervention , whilst cutting the number of unnecessary hospital visits.

I’ m not suggesting that telehealth will resolve all the issues of growing demand and the limited capacity of A&E, however, it could do a great deal to help alleviate the problem. Supporting patients in their own homes is vital to cutting down the numbers of unnecessary visits to A&E and lessening the pressure on Britain’s urgent and emergency care network.