The government has announced plans to bring telehealth technology to three million people within five years, a move with potentially significant impact on community nurses.
Examples of telehealth projects can include patients with long-term conditions wearing monitoring devices that send data to a nurse based elsewhere or a remote consultation between community and specialist nurses.
NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson announced the plans to increase the use of the technology as part of the NHS innovation review last week.
The results released so far have show dramatic falls in mortality and emergency admissions for patients with long-term conditions.
The Royal College of Nursing said the development should be welcomed.
RCN long term conditions adviser Amanda Cheesely said: “Telehealth should not be seen as a threat, a replacement for appropriate clinical care or another unnecessary expense. New ways of working with technology can also save money by reducing paperwork, unnecessary meetings and the inappropriate use of scarce health resources.
“We must embrace the widespread adoption of this and ensure that patients and staff are supported to use it to its full potential. The RCN genuinely believes that using this technology can have a hugely beneficial impact on people’s lives, while at the same time, being very cost effective.”
The scheme was trialled in east London, Kent and Cornwall.