• 16Jan

    Technology to support people living with long term conditions: a toolkit

    The NHS Commissioning Assembly has published a toolkit to broaden awareness of ‘TECS’ and the benefits they can bring to patients, commissioners, families, health and care.

    The term ‘technology enabled care services’ (TECS) refers to technologies (such as telecare, telehealth, telemedicine/ teleconsultation and self care apps) that help people to manage and control chronic illness and sustain independence.

    They enable the remote exchange of information, primarily between a patient or citizen and a health or care professional, to assist in diagnosing or monitoring health status or promoting good health.

    The toolkit will be of interest to commissioners, as well as people working in partnership and providing support to commissioners, including health and wellbeing boards, Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) and providers of health and social care, who have plans for TECS and wish to seek support from their commissioner.

    It looks at the policy context for embracing TECS and clearly links TECS to delivering on a number of ‘Everyone Counts’ outcomes including:

    • Improving the health-related quality of life of the more than 15 million people with one or more LTCs, including mental health conditions.
    • Reducing the amount of avoidable time people spend in hospital through better and more integrated care in the community, outside of hospital.
    • Increasing the proportion of older people living independently at home following discharge from hospital.
    • Increasing the number of people with mental and physical health conditions having a positive experience of care outside hospital, in general practice and in the community.
    • Making significant progress towards eliminating avoidable deaths in our hospitals caused by problems in care.

    It includes examples of how TECS can support people from birth to death, and how TECS can support commissioner priorities across the full spectrum and health and care settings. Specifically it outlines how TECS can support people living with long term conditions:

    • Self-care apps to promote understanding of condition and better self-management.
    • Health and care focused social networking for people with similar conditions.
    • Carer support apps and web portals to reduce carer burden.
    • Telehealth for LTCs (initial diagnosis, titration of medication for newly diagnosed/unstable patients, annual reviews for stable patients).
    • Telecare to help people remain independent in their own homes.
    • Teleconsultation between primary and acute settings.
    • Secure messaging for selected patients to their care team.
    • Telecare for at-risk groups e.g. falls monitors, pendant alarms, environmental controls/alarms.

    Professor Sir Bruce Keogh KBE, National Medical Director, NHS England says in the foreward to the tookit:

    “I believe that by embracing rapidly emerging mobile and health care we can empower millions of patients to own their own care and transform the way we plan and deliver services to create a sustainable NHS for the future.”

    The toolkit can be accessed here.