Online scanning to allow remote diagnosis for island-based patients and Scotland’s biggest telehealth system are among a range of hi-tech projects to help more patients to be treated quicker and closer to home.

The Scottish NHS is to invest €1.8m in e-health – including €640,000 funding from the country’s major health IT contractor Atos Origin. The roll-out of the €792,000 telehealth project for long term conditions patients is funded equally between the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian.

In the biggest of the projects, NHS Lothian is rolling out Scotland’s telehome monitoring system.

Four hundred people living with conditions like heart failure or chronic lung disease will have touch screen telehealth devices in their homes to monitor their vital signs remotely, helping them avoid repeated hospital visits.

The announcement was made by Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon at the first annual Scottish Telehealth and Telecare conference.

Sturgeon unveiled details of projects extending the use of telehealth and telecare in the NHS. These include: touch screens in the homes of hundreds of patients with chronic conditions in Lothian, allowing them to be monitored from home.

Another project includes online scanning, allowing patients in Orkney to be diagnosed remotely, avoiding lengthy trips to hospital. Another project is new software in Glasgow to transmit patients’ records directly to consulting rooms.

Sturgeon said: "Telehealthcare technologies and eHealth have huge potential to benefit patients, by harnessing all that technology can offer to make care quicker, safer and closer to home. It also allows more efficient working and better support for our health and care staff.

The Health Secretary added "In e-health, our joint investment in 16 pilot projects will help patients in hospital and at home. At the West of Scotland Heart and Lung Centre, for example, they’re replacing cardiac databases with the latest systems to improve patient safety.”

Sixteen eHealth projects across Scotland will share the €1.8 million funding from the Scottish Government and the ATOS Origin Alliance Innovation Fund:

  • €226,000 investment between NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Tayside, to develop a multidisciplinary IT system to share key patient information in both community and hospital settings;
  • €198,000 to NHS Ayrshire & Arran to develop an online patient portal, which will make healthcare information available at the touch of a button for people living with long term conditions;
  • €170000 between NHS Fife and NHS Tayside, to consult patient groups on safeguards around information sharing so that patient care can be supported;
  • €158,000 between NHS Tayside and NHS Fife – to use real-time management technology to help meet waiting time targets for patients;
  • €158,000 to NHS Orkney to develop remote medical patient monitoring. This will allow clinical staff in Orkney to access real-time medical support and expertise and reduce the need to transport patients. This will also support the delivery of unscheduled care and long-term conditions care in remote areas;
  • €153,000 to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to develop new ways of supplying clinical information directly to consulting rooms;
  • €138,000 between NHS Lothian and NHS Tayside to develop a Child Health Summary, ensuring critical information is available in one place when needed by healthcare professionals;
  • €123,000 to NHS Tayside to develop a Children’s Information Assessment to support staff with systems that underpin the management and decision making of child care;
  • €123,000 to NHS Fife to develop governance for eHealth;
  • €113,000 to the West of Scotland Heart and Lung Centre at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to replace cardiac databases with more up-to-date solutions to improve patient safety and care;
  • €113,000 to NHS Forth Valley to develop patient information systems to improve mental health care;
  • €56,000 shared between NHS24 and Breathing Space to provide mental health and wellbeing support for deaf people, through online face-to-face consultations;
  • €56,000 to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to develop systems to share information across organisations, reducing duplication and delivering crucial patient information to clinicians;
  • €48,000 between NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Borders and NHS Ayrshire and Arran to create a software development network, ensuring a consistent approach across NHSScotland;
  • €38,000 to NHS Tayside to create an electronic data system to help improve patient safety;
  • €34,000 to NHS Grampian to establish a Multi User Telehealth System used to monitor users’ vital signs remotely;
  • The €792,000 telehealth personal healthcare system will be evaluated by the University of Edinburgh in a randomised controlled clinical trial.