More than half of NHS trusts across the UK have adopted telemedicine technologies, enabling them to diagnose and treat patients remotely.
According to new figures obtained from freedom of information requests by telemedicine specialist, Imerja; 58% of trusts said they used some sort of telemedicine to care for patients.
While some only used the technology in one department, others have been quicker to embrace new ways of working, with one trust revealing that almost 75% of its 85 departments rely on telemedicine.
The most-popular application of telemedicine is in stroke care, with 41% of trusts treating stroke patients remotely.
Other examples include the provision of rapid-response services in A&E departments, out-of-hours services for elderly care home residents, and the delivery of care to the prison service.
32 trusts collected patient and clinician feedback on their telemedicine applications, and 97% of these trusts claimed feedback had been positive. 68% of those trusts using the technology also said they have plans in place to expand usage.
Commenting on the findings, Ian Jackson, managing director at Imerja, said: “NHS trusts are operating in a very-challenging environment which makes efficiency savings paramount. It’s therefore encouraging to see so many trusts using telemedicine as a way to spread their resources and expertise while reducing costs.
“Telemedicine technology can not only enable remote diagnosis and prompt treatment for patients; it can also be used to provide post-op support, help treat patients with long-term illnesses, and to facilitate collaboration between clinicians.
“If used to full effect this can have a significant and positive impact on the provision of care, especially if this technology is taken into the patient’s home”
“Trusts that are yet to adopt telemedicine should explore how it could improve their service delivery.”