Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust has warned its patients of a possible telehealth scam.
The trust, which has 180 patients using telehealth services, sent letters to all of its telehealth users after one was contacted by a company calling itself “Gloucestershire Telehealth” asking for payment.
In a report to the trust board, the chief executive says a GP notified its telehealth service that the fake company had contacted the patient.
“We have written to all telehealth service users to reassure them that the service is provided and funded by the trust.
“If they are approached by ‘Gloucestershire Telehealth’ or asked for payment they should not make a payment or disclose personal details and instead contact the trust,” says the report.
A spokesperson told EHI that that only one incident had been reported, but the letters has been sent out as a precaution.
The trust provides telehealth services for heart failure and respiratory patients. They use an electronic device to monitor blood pressure, weight, heart rate and oxygen levels, and answer questions about their health.
The data is then transmitted to clinicians for monitoring and appropriate action.
A spokesperson from Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, which delivers the telehealth service, said it believes the incident to be an “isolated case.”
“As a precautionary measure, all registered telehealth patients have also been notified of this incident.”
Gloucestershire Care Services first introduced the telehealth service in 2008. At the time, it consisted of 72 monitors for heart failure and COPD patients.
However, after successful results, the trust increased the number of monitors and has now mainstreamed the service.
Gloucestershire also runs a separate, large scale telehealth project in partnership with Tunstall Healthcare.
The project was set up in 2011 to deliver telehealth to more than 2,000 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, chronic heart disease and diabetes.