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Simple Telehealth

2011: Telehealth from the top?


2011: Telehealth from the top?

Last week Andrew Lansley reinforced the need for Trusts to quickly adopt innovative and cost effect telehealth solutions.


In his call for Trusts to invest in Telehealth, Lansley said that "Not only are we anticipating that in itself (it) will create potential for savings, but it will be a route for people to reinvest savings".  He then went on to say that trusts would be incentivised to do work better and more cheaply and “innovators should get a first mover advantage”.

So why does it take so long for Trusts to firstly adopt telehealth solutions and then to work out new ways to exploit this new and emerging technology? 

Right now, I am working with a mix of around 40 commissioning and provider organisations throughout England to adopt and innovate with Telehealth.  There is a huge difference in culture across these organisations and even significant differences can be found within each of an organisations teams.  Some see the potential and want to move quickly, others slip into “convoy” mode and move at an excruciatingly slow pace.

Jim Easton, in his keynote speech at the 2011 Innovation Expo also called for quick and simple changes to save the NHS. 

My experience suggests that when front line clinicians believe that the particular telehealth solution they are being asked to use will be quick and simple, will benefit their patient and will truly help them to do their job better they embrace the solution, look for innovative ways of using it beyond what was originally envisaged and thereby create an irresistible “pull” from the front.

At the 2011 Expo, I had the privilege of presenting our NHS innovation, Simple Telehealth to Jim Easton.  Jim commented that it was this type of quick, simple, easy to use and rapidly scalable innovation that he was encouraging Trusts adopt “to save the NHS”. 

So direction from the top via Andrew Lansley and Jim Easton is welcome, setting out a strategic vision for innovation and adoption of Telehealth.  However to get wider and faster adoption of Telehealth, I believe we should let clinicians tell us what they think will work for them and their patients, then start the business case from there.