Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Teaching telehealth

RAT researchers are spreading the word about telehealth throughout the healthcare professions. Tim Ellis (Telehealth Programme Manager) and Cathy Soreny (Research Associate) have led one of the first teaching sessions on telehealth for pre-registration health professionals in the UK. Twenty Post Graduate Diploma nursing students attended the 3 hour workshop as part of their module on managing patients with long-term conditions. The nurses took part in practical exercises with home monitoring equipment, and group discussions of issues around implementation in practice. Several of the student nurses had experienced small-scale telehealth pilots on their community placements; for others it was a completely new experience.

Telehealth uses technology to support patients with long-term conditions in the home environment, and links them remotely to their healthcare team. It combines monitoring of vital signs and patient education, to promote self-care and proactive disease management that helps avoids unnecessary hospital admissions and complications. Telehealth is proving to be an effective way of delivering patient-centred care within the context of the increasing incidence of long-term conditions, the aging population and uncertainties around healthcare funding.

This will be the first of several teaching sessions facilitated by the RAT groups, and is seen as a core element in paving the way for the implementation of telehealth into health systems in our region.

[written by Cathy Soreny. Photograph: copyright Cathy Soreny]

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