Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 15:04 UK

Phone health checks for patients

Telehealth technology (Pic: Anna Smyth)
Over four years the project will be expanded to include 1500 patients

Patients with long-term conditions such as lung disease, diabetes and high blood pressure could soon use mobile phones to monitor their health at home.

An Edinburgh University team is to investigate the impact of at-home monitoring services that connect patients directly to clinicians.

The Chief Scientist's Office has awarded 1m to the institution for a pilot project in Scotland.

It is hoped such technologies may lessen the burden on the NHS.

The announcement was made on Monday at a meeting of international e-health experts hosted by the Edinburgh eHealth research group.

By helping patients to monitor these chronic conditions at home, we hope to reduce the need for regular visits to GP practices
Dr Brian McKinstry
Edinburgh University

Patients with high blood pressure and chronic lung disease will be initially recruited to test new technology that allows them to measure their blood pressure, and oxygen levels at home.

The readings will be sent via mobile phone into a central computer and collated into an online health record that can be accessed by both the patient and their GP.

If a reading is very high, the patient will automatically receive a text message reminding them to take medication or instructing them that extra treatment is required.

Their GP could then use the latest telehealth technology to speak directly via online video link to the patient in their home.

Over the next four years the project will be expanded to include 1500 patients with diabetes, stroke and chronic lung disease.

Dr Brian McKinstry of Edinburgh University, who is leading the study, said: "This project demonstrates how communication technology could revolutionise healthcare.

"By helping patients to monitor these chronic conditions at home, we hope to reduce the need for regular visits to GP practices, which can be very time-consuming for patients who live with these conditions for many years.

"We're also interested to see if allowing patients to check their health frequently at home leads to changes in their condition being detected and treated more quickly than they might have been under the current system."


SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific