Telehealth systems have reduced hospital admissions resulting from urinary tract infections (UTIs) over the past three years, according a nurse consultant at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Sharon Eustice, writing for the NHS England website, explained that patients had been using keypads on their phones to answer a set of questions about their symptoms. A nursing team then received their answers, analyse them, verify symptoms over the phone and then requested home urine testing if required.
She said: “By home testing of urine, episodes of infection or no infection enables better informed decision making in the management of this condition.”
Should medical treatment be necessary, nurses can usually contact the patient’s GP on the same day, reducing the lengthy wait for appointments.
Thanks to this technology, UTIs can be diagnosed promptly, reducing the need for hospital care and associated costs. Home testing, diagnosis and treatment also relieves the burden of travel for those patients who live in rural areas or are less able to make the journey to be treated.
Eustice said the move away from hospital care also puts the power back into patients’ hands. She added that patients can check their urine themselves at home, and phone the appropriate service should it show signs of infection. This is avoiding delays in treatment which could allow an infection to worsen and require hospital admission.