Telehealth is seen as a key component of 21st century healthcare, and studies have explored its cost effectiveness and impact on hospital admissions. Research has been carried out into how to best implement it, and the barriers to its adoption. The impact of telehealth on self-management however has been a neglected area. An evaluation of the implementation of a telehealth programme in one area in the South of England found that some patients were using the telehealth equipment provided to enhance their own self management abilities. Whilst the nurses managing the scheme felt that they had an education role they did not involve their patients in setting goals. The patients equally did not feel that were being educated by their nurses. Patients were using the monitoring equipment independently of the nurses and the scheme to support their self-management strategies. Therefore the concept of graduating from telehealth once good self-management is established needs to be rethought. Patients in this study experienced less face to face contact with their nurse, but also reported that they were happy with the changes. This suggests that for some patients the contact with the nurse may well be able to be reduced or withdrawn however removing the monitoring equipment will remove the very tools essential to continued self-management.
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