A private company that runs almost 40 NHS general practices is piloting a telehealth solution in one of its surgeries.

Chilvers McCrea has set up a separate company in conjunction with telehealth providers ITAL to provide telemonitoring services to patients with long term conditions.

The pilot site in Harlow, Essex has given pulse oximetry equipment to selected patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the company says it is now carrying out a qualitative evaluation of the scheme.

Company chairman Dr McCrea said: “We want to create a practice which responds to the needs of its patients while at the same time cutting unnecessary hospital and surgery appointments. With this new technology we are capable of doing this, and although the scheme is still in its infancy it is already having a very positive impact.”

Dr McCrea told EHI Primary Care that the eventual plan was to run telehealth services in its own practices and to offer the service to other practices as well

Dr McCrea added: “We have been talking to quite a number of practice-based commissioning groups and have set up a site so people can see how it works.”

Conservative MP Oliver Letwin visited the Harlow surgery last month to see the scheme in operation. He said: “I see the surgery as an effective model of how public/private partnerships can work – this is the way all our public services need to go.

For more information about private provider plans for IT in general practice see the comment and analysis, Private GP providers’ technology.