National Health Service Ayrshire and Arran, one of the fourteen regions of the NHS in Scotland, provided patients of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) a HomePod (touch screen tablet), paired to a medical device (such as blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter and weighing scales). This initiative was developed to improve wellbeing of patients with COPD, reduce unplanned hospital admissions, and reduce pressure on general practitioner appointments and out-of-hours service. Data is transmitted in real-time to a clinician who reviews and responds as required. The service began in 2011 and is now used by 150 patients. A cost effectiveness analysis concluded:
- Savings of 40 percent compared to “usual care” (equating to £100,000 a year)
- 26 percent reduction in general practitioner appointments
- 70 percent reduction in emergency admissions to hospital
- 86 percent reduction to local out of hours service
Feedback from patients shows satisfaction with the technology, an increased sense of security at being monitored, and reduced stress due to reductions in doctor’s visits or hospital check-ups. Feedback from the care team indicates that patients are much more aware of their condition and able to manage it better.