British telehealth vendor Tunstall Healthcare just snagged a contract to provide telehealth to more than 6,000 patients in New South Wales, Australia. The government-run, four-year project will cover 43,000 patients total, with 14 percent expected to receive telehealth services over that period, the company states.
The overall program aims to help general practitioners, specialty MDs, hospitals and community health services better manage chronic conditions, with telehealth as a key component. The telehealth segment provides telehealth devices and monitoring services to state residents with COPD, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
As part of Tunstall's disease management program, Connected Care, clinicians will use the telehealth systems to monitor patients' vitals on a daily basis, and respond to abnormal fluctuations in weight, blood pressure or other key indicators.
The primary goal: Prevent re-hospitalizations. And the system has some a bit of data to back up its claims of doing so. A small study of Tunstalls' Vitaline telehealth system in Blackpool, England, found a 75 percent reduction in admissions for COPD and heart disease patients, as well as an 85 percent decrease in general practitioner visits. Patients using the equipment even needed 43 percent fewer home nursing visits, CeBIT reports.
Interestingly, the findings are pushing the vendor to branch out into obesity management and workplace health monitoring, company officials tell CeBIT. "We're keen to expand the service," to other markets, says Margaret Seddon, manager of the Vitaline product line.
Tunstall claims 2.5 million users worldwide.