31st March 2014 – Making a difference to the Jane and Geoff’s of this world

Posted on March 31, 2014 by AireAdmin

It’s Friday evening and I’m just clearing final emails and reflecting on another hectic week of meetings, papers, appraisals, Cost Improvement Plan targets (CIPs), planning, media coverage – I’m sure it’s a familiar tale. It’s my turn to write the team’s telehealth blog and I was planning to focus on the positive national publicity and recognition our telemedicine service has attracted over the past couple of weeks.

On my wall, behind my PC, I have a poster featuring a picture of Jane, a carer, and a quote from her regarding the positive impact telemedicine had in the final days as her late husband Geoff approached the end of his life. It’s an importantly timely reminder of what we are trying to do here at Immedicare. Yes, we want to support commissioners with better use of scare resources; yes, we want to help hospitals reduce hospital admissions and avoid A&E attendances, but the main reason we are doing this is to make a difference to the Jane and Geoff’s of this world – people with long term conditions, and near the end of their lives, where every minute is precious.

Yesterday a colleague told me a story from one of our engineers who had just installed the telemedicine equipment in the home of a terminally-ill gentleman. During the installation the man became unwell, and his wife’s immediate natural response was to call out the GP. The engineer suggested she use the newly- installed telemedicine service instead and contact the acute nurse at Airedale hospital who would be available immediately. This she did and was immediately reassured without the need for a GP visit or to go to hospital.

So, if by connecting patients and carers to qualified health professionals using video- conferencing technology we are able to save precious time for families to be together rather than them having to travel to and from hospital – then that’s a much more important message to be blogging about that promoting our latest publicity.

Ann Wagner, director of strategy and business development at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.