NHS Connecting for Health is to trial linking information from an advanced telehealth platform into the new EMIS Web GP system, as a possible prelude to a national roll-out, E-Health Insider has learned.

A new three month trial will use Philips Motiva telehealth technology to connect to GP practices using the new EMIS web software. The trial will enable vital signs data, collected from remote telehealth sensors, to be automatically integrated into the patient’s GP record.

If successful, the plan is then to roll the system out nationally, with the intention to connect to the national NHS Spine.

The trial, which is due to begin towards the end of 2009, will use the same 1,000 participants who are taking part in the whole system demonstrator trials for telehealth and telecare in Newham.

Michael Dillon, the project lead from NHS Connecting for Health, told E-Health Insider that he believed the trial would help to break down the barriers preventing wider uptake and adoption of telehealth.

Dillon said: “The trial’s objective is to reduce the barriers that are related to telehealth and the struggle to get information from the systems back to GPs in particular.

“One of the main barriers is the lack of information integration between people, technology and care providers.”

Philips Motiva, is an interactive healthcare platform that connects patients with chronic conditions to their healthcare providers. Patient information will be sent to EMIS Web to provide information such as vital signs to form part of a record.

Sean Riddell, managing director of EMIS told EHI: “We are very excited about the project EMIS is currently finalising the details of a contractual agreement with Connecting for Health.”

“The project will use EMIS Web to facilitate the sharing of patient data captured via the telehealth device with healthcare practitioners. The other key component to support this project will be the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) to provide a common interoperability layer between different IT systems.”

The trial will focus on GPs and out of hours services but also has the potential to link to others such as heart consultants, A&E and could therefore be a “single data set to inform all scenarios,” Dillon said.

“What people want is a single system providing the right information and making it available then and there,” he added.

However, Dillon was keen to stress that the intention was not to create an additional telehealth record, separate to the summary care record already now being introduced nationally.

He said: “This is not going to become a separate record, the telehealth record is about using information that is necessary to go into the record rather than putting all the available information in.”

Once the trial is complete the system will be demonstrated at a number of events in Newham.

Dillon added that one question that would have to be answered is how quickly to roll-out after the initial three-month trial: “After the trial the question will then be do we demonstrate it in other areas or do with get it live and start rolling it out locally and nationally?

“The thing to mention is that regardless of the method we are fairly confident that it will get fully rolled out eventually and once declared and published it will be linked to the spine.”

However, Dillon said that despite the technology being in place to allow the trial to run smoothly there are challenges that the trial will face.

“The solution has been identified as something people want but getting it high on people’s agenda and getting clinical interest is the problem. We need people to feedback to us and tell us whether it is working well and what is right and wrong.”




Connecting for health