Healthcare via your TV now being delivered to homes in Oldham

GPs and community healthcare staff in Oldham are now talking to respiratory patients via their TV screens, as part of new trial.

As part of a pilot scheme, healthcare staff in Oldham will be trialling a new TV-linked virtual healthcare system, which will help them care for people in their homes. Healthcare staff will trial video-link home visits from a remote location, appearing on the screens of patient’s TVs.

A cohort of respiratory patients in Oldham will be given a set top box that sits on top of their TVs. This will connect their TV with carers, health professionals and even family.

It will mean they can have home-based support, without knowing how to use computers or mobile devices. By just turning on their familiar TV screen and using a remote control, they can speak to and alert people easily.

Shelley Grumbridge, Clinical Director for Urgent Care at NHS Oldham CCG, said: “The main thing we’re trying to do is to keep people safe and well at home and prevent them having to come into hospital. The ‘Kraydel’ system will not only let us have virtual consultations with our patients, but will help us monitor their health and wellbeing. The beauty of it is how it is simple for anyone to use – it just blends into the living room and can be used as and when needed, keeping everyone updated on how a person is doing that day. It’s just like having Facetime on your TV!”

Kraydel will also send out alerts and let carers and family know if someone is having problems, using an embedded camera and a pulse oximeter.

By using their familiar TV, the system is non-threatening and is particularly good for older people who live alone. It is hoped that having the system in their homes will help people remain independent and improve resilience as they age.

Rebecca Towns, Respiratory Clinical Service Manager of the Pennine Lung Service in Oldham, said: “Patients were a bit nervous about having Kraydel installed on their TV at first. Some patients can’t use a mobile, smartphone or computer, so this sort of technology is a bit frightening to them. Patients soon got used to it being there and found it quite comforting to know that they have someone checking on them, without physically being there all the time.”

A patient who is currently using Kraydel said: “Sometimes I get quite lonely and I don’t like having to bother family every time I need something. I’d recommend this to anyone who isn’t used to technology, as it’s so easy.”

The technology called Konnect has been developed by Kraydel, a technology company based in Ireland. It includes a set top device with an on-board camera and sensors.

A remote control drives the user interface with large, easy to use buttons. Very limited training is required to get used to the system.

The system has many benefits including:

  • Treating people in their own home with no need to travel.
  • Supporting people with long term conditions by regularly monitoring their health and wellbeing.
  • Reducing social isolation through regular contact.
  • Using more familiar tech (own TV), it is quicker and easier for patients to get used to.
  • Supporting patients following discharge from hospital.
  • It is suitable for use during the Coronavirus pandemic, as it allows healthcare staff to provide safe care remotely.
  • Healthcare professionals can operate the system remotely.

The system can also be connected to the Greater Manchester Digital Platform, meaning information can be used to improve long term health and care for citizens.

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