One thousand patients are using a new telemonitoring service in Northern Ireland which aims to help 20,000 people with long-term conditions manage their own health.

The service is being provided by TF3 – a consortium made up of Tunstall Healthcare, Fold Housing Association and S3 Group – in conjunction with the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

The £18m deal – awarded by the European Centre for Connected Health in the Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland – was announced in March this year by health minister Michael McGimpsey.

The project aim is to benefit up to 20,000 people over six years by enabling better control over their own health and improving care outcomes.

The telemonitoring service involves patients taking vital sign measurements at home, which are automatically transmitted to the Tf3 system, where they are monitored by a triage team.

If the patient’s readings cause concern, a nurse will contact the patient by phone and if necessary the patient’s clinician will be alerted.

The service aims to improve outcomes for patients with earlier intervention, prevent deterioration of their condition and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

One thousand patients are already using the service with numbers expected to hit 22,00 this year.

Eddie Ritson, CCHSC PHA programme director said: “Telemonitoring is an excellent example of how modern technology can help deliver a better service for the patient and also allow more efficient use of the healthcare professional’s time and skills.”