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Telemonitoring remains ‘unproven’ in general practice

17 April 2014

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Telemonitoring practice patients is not a “proven” way of reducing hospital admissions, the British Medical Association has claimed. 

Telemonitoring is used to monitor patients’ health, such as blood pressure readings, from a distance, using a range of technology.

A survey of views on telemonitoring, which is being piloted in Northern Ireland, was published this month.

BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Dr Tom Black said telemonitoring did not take account of what a patient is doing at the time of a test, which can impact on the results.

He said: “We feel at the present time that telemonitoring hasn’t proven itself in general practice.

“We are supportive of pilots to see if it can help patient care but the drive appears to be to reduce hospital admissions and our concern is that it actually brings extra work into primary care.

“Most doctors work in hospitals and we are concerned that work is being shifted into primary care without the required resources.”

A Patient and Client Council survey has found a high level of satisfaction among patients who use telemonitoring.

More than 2,800 patients to date have used telemonitoring services in Northern Ireland.

Benefits reported by patients in the survey include better self-management of conditions, reassurance, less travel to clinics and a feeling of being well supported.