NHS East Berkshire is to trial technology to allow patients to carry out rehabilitation exercises at home without needing to see a physiotherapist, as part of the launch of O2 Health.

The technology will allow patients to return home and carry out pre-determined rehabilitation programmes shown on a TV screen and have their progress monitored remotely via movement sensors.

Data will be captured and communicated back to a physiotherapist for ongoing evaluation to make sure the patient is carrying out the correct movements.

Keith Nurcombe, head of O2 Health, told E-Health Insider: “This provides a better experience for the patients, as they know that they are doing it correctly, but it also means that physiotherapists have more time to see other patients.”

The system will go-live in four to six weeks and is based on technology already being successfully rolled out in Spain by O2 parent company Telefónica, which announced its global e-health strategy last week.

Following on from that announcement, O2 Health has launched its UK e-health strategy, which will focus on leveraging some of the technology that Telefónica has been rolling out in Spain and on deploying systems that will help the NHS to increase productivity, save money and put patients in more control of their health.

The company has already worked with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust to provide a digital pen solution that enables midwives to use BlackBerries to encrypt and send data to the trust’s patient record system.

Ben Dowd, business sales director of 02, added: “We are looking at technology that exists today and not in two or three years’ time.

"If you look at Portsmouth, they have saved around £220,000. If deployed nationally to all the midwives across the country, you would be looking at efficiency savings of around £50m.”

O2 says that its healthcare business will stretch into new partnerships, to ensure that they can cover as much of the market as possible with targeted solutions.

Nurcombe added: “We want to provide an end to end solution where you can absolutely see the patient benefit as part of the criteria but this will often have an impact on staff by freeing up their time.”

Over the next few months, the company will be carrying out a number of internal and external trials of new technologies. 

These will include a mobile alarm system, similar to emergency home based alarms, thatwill allow patients to leave the house without the fear of falling. O2 hopes to roll this out to NHS and local authorities next year.

Link: O2 Health