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Specialist nurses to remotely monitor patients with long-term conditions

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Specialist nurses in Scotland have been handed a lead role in an innovate programme to remotely monitor patients with long-term conditions.

Touch screens are going to be installed in the homes of around 200 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as part of a ‘telehealth’ project in NHS Lothian.

The devices will connect patients online to specialist nurses who will manage their care remotely. The technology enables vital sign collection, patient reminders and video conferencing.

Nurses will be involved with assessing and coaching patients, monitoring data trends, escalating patients for referral and encouraging them to continue to self manage their condition.

It is hope that the initiative, which has received£700,000 in funding from the Scottish Government, will reduce unnecessary admissions for COPD exacerbations. NHS Lothian plans to extend the service in future to a further 200 patients with heart failure and diabetes.

Claire Medd, a clinical specialist for Intel and a former nurse, was involved in developing the training materials for the programme, which was piloted successfully in 30 COPD patients with positive feedback from patients and nurses.

‘Patients have been extremely positive about the self management and the remote supervision,’ she told Nursing Times. ‘The older generation have been impressed at how simple it is to use. Clinicians have found the data on trends very helpful for initiating timely interventions.’

It is the largest of 17 ‘e-health’ projects to receive a share of£1.6m in funding from the Scottish Government.

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