Remote patient care touted as saving the NHS £3.4 billion

Technology used to provide remote patient care could help save the NHS £3.4 billion every year, a report claims.

According to a report from the Confederation of British Industry, massive savings could be made by the beleaguered health service by making use of advances in mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets.

With the NHS looking to make giant cuts as the coalition waves its axe and slashes NHS budgets, the widespread use of technology could relieve some of the burden on staff.

£1.9 billion could be saved each year by remote working, for example.  This would mean minimising the amount of time that clinicians would spend travelling, filling in forms and checking records, according to the report, and would increase the amount of time spent with patients.

Community nurses could upload clinical information from a tablet or smartphone after each visit rather than having to return to their office regularly, the report suggests.

According to the CBI, interaction with patients through their TVs is another way in which bosses could drive cost cutting.

By using technology for telecare and telehealth another £240 million could be saved across the UK annually, the report claims.

Telehealth systems have already been installed by Newham Council, with staff interacting with patients through their televisions, reducing the need for physical contact and allowing them to remotely monitor patient well-being.

As the use of smartphones and other mobile devices is rocketing across the UK, patients connecting with health workers in this way may be a consideration for some trusts.