HEALTH technology which helps Sunderland patients manage their conditions from home has won an award.
More than 50 patients on Wearside are currently using Telehealth, which monitors illnesses such as heart disease.
The system has been credited with reducing hospital admissions as well as visits to GP surgeries.
It works by checking vital signs such as oxygen levels and blood pressure and can also record the weight of a person.
Health chiefs say the NHS currently spends about 70 per cent of its budget on the 15million people nationwide who have one or more long-term conditions.
With an ageing population, it is hoped that advances in technology such as Telehealth, will prevent patients having to stay in hospital.
Forecasts are that patient numbers could grow by as much as 23 per cent over the next 20 years.
The Telehealth team at NHS South of Tyne and Wear and Sunderland City Council won the partnership award in the authority’s Star Awards 2012.
Dr Mike Prentice, medical director at NHS South of Tyne and Wear, working on behalf of Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT), said: “We are delighted to win the partnership award from Sunderland City Council which is in recognition of our team work with partners including the council, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a new approach to caring for people with long-term conditions.
“Telehealth is used to monitor people with chronic long-term conditions who would normally be monitored in outpatient clinics, through visits by community matrons, health professionals or visits to GP surgeries.”
During the coming months another 200 people in Sunderland are expected to be using different forms of the technology to monitoring their health.
The Government now hopes that Telehealth will have three million users over the next five years.
Paul Marriott, project manager for telehealth at NHS South of Tyne and Wear said: “Telehealth aims to improve the health and wellbeing of those people with a long-term condition by enabling them to manage their condition more effectively.
“It also supports earlier discharge from hospital and supports people in their own home rather than admitting them to residential care, and increases patient and carer independence.”