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Posted 8 months ago
Research undertaken by the Newcastle University (NU) has found that elderly patients are missing out on simple, basic heart treatments that could prolong and improve their lives – thanks largely to undiagnosed conditions.
The research, commissioned by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), found that out of 300 people between 87-89 years old, 25% had an undiagnosed heart condition and were missing out on treatments such as ACE Inhibitors and beta-blockers, which could improve their symptoms and quality of life. According to the BFH, the most common undiagnosed heart problem was a weakness in the heart’s ability to pump, causing breathlessness and, potentially, the development of heart failure, resulting in hospital admission.
Telehealth has a significant role to play in monitoring and improving the quality of life of people with chronic conditions, including heart disease. Once diagnosed, this technology enables patients to manage their own health, whether it’s reminders to take their medication or ongoing monitoring of key indicators such as blood pressure or heart rate. In addition to taking blood oxygen level readings, telehealth can also play a key role in the early detection of atrial fibrillation; all results are transmitted via a telehealth hub and the NHS’s N3 network to a triage operation.
For such a simple process, telehealth could have a far-reaching impact on the future of healthcare in this country. With the NHS struggling to cope with reduced resources, telehealth can allow clinicians to monitor a patient’s health from afar – ensuring that elderly patients like the ones in the BHF study don’t slip through the cracks and rather get the quality of care they need before any underlying conditions escalate to acute status.
For a long time, we’ve grappled with the suggestion that high-quality, patient-centric care is unaffordable. Telehealth has the potential to put paid to that belief, combining leading-edge care with cost-effective, patient-centric outcomes. I believe that telehealth will have its greatest impact in exactly the kind of cases uncovered by the BHF and NU’s research. It is the catalyst for the future of personalised medicine – with the added bonus of strengthening the NHS in the process through more cost-effective allocation of resources.