UK Doctors Union Pushes Back on Telehealth Plan

2-25-2013 9-31-27 PM

The British Medical Association has publically questioned the UK National Health Service’s telehealth plan, saying that it will add significant work for providers and will not likely help patients.

The 3millionlives program in question was announced in November by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. The plan involves expanding the availability of telehealth services to 3 million more citizens by 2017.

The British Medical Association has said that while it shares the health secretary’s hope of a more efficiently run health system, it does not think that telehealth and remote monitoring will make meaningful contributions toward that goal.

At the heart of the issue is a remote monitoring clause within the 3millionlives program which requires providers to introduce at least one new remote monitoring option to patients before April. Physicians point to the requirement as burdensome, and cite a lack of evidence suggesting that adding remote monitoring will correlate with reduced face-to-face care appointments. The physicians also question the effect remote visits will have on overall patient satisfaction. Both of these concerns have basis in recent research.

Despite a lack of conclusive evidence demonstrating expected gains, and push-back from physicians who suggest that the implementation is too large a burden, the government intends to move forward with remote monitoring and the 3millionlives program.

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