The pathways – which include blood pressure monitoring and chronic pain management –are part of Connect Me, the remote monitoring programme for NHS Scotland. The NHS developed them using Inhealthcare’s award-winning digital health platform. To date, nearly 12,000 people have used earlier iterations of the pathways to support conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, and undernutrition. The blood pressure monitoring service is expected to be one of the largest pathways of its kind, and so far has supported more than 5,700 patients.
A growing number of patients are being offered Connect Me as a means to interact and communicate with their healthcare professionals. Inhealthcare, a digital health technology specialist, says the programme ‘enables people to have more choice and greater flexibility about how and where they manage their health and wellbeing’. The free programme is provided via mobile app, website, text message, or automated phone call. It is being used to monitor the effects of starting or stopping treatments, issue reminders or encouragement, spot flare-ups so treatment can be delivered sooner, identify reasons why a condition might not be well controlled, and offer advice and support during treatment plans.
Claimed patient benefits include less time spent attending and travelling to appointments, and increased confidence to self-manage conditions and care, while the benefits for clinicians are said to include better data availability to assist early intervention, greater adherence to treatment, enhanced care provision, Net Zero and productivity gains from less travel, more timely face-to-face contact with patients, more efficient use of resources. and reduced hospital admissions.
Bryn Sage, CEO at Inhealthcare, said: “We are proud to be working alongside the team at NHS Scotland to help Scotland become an international leader in technology-enabled care, supporting more people to live longer, healthier lives at home or in community settings. There are over one million GP appointments per year in Scotland just for measuring blood pressure. By rolling out remote monitoring pathways for conditions such as hypertension, we are helping to create significant extra capacity within the healthcare system.”
Inhealthcare announced in early 2022 that it was the successful bidder for the NHS Scotland contract to support ‘the scaling up and mainstreaming’ of remote patient monitoring services across Scotland. An evaluation found Scotland’s remote health pathway for people with COVID-19 symptoms ‘improved access to NHS services, and could be safely rolled out to help others’.