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Health secretary pledges 100,000 people to benefit from telehealth technology next year

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The Government has launched a roll-out of telehealth, the use of electronic information and technology to help people manage their health independently, as a way of giving those with long-term conditions control over their own care.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said across England 100,000 people are set to benefit from new health technologies.

Mr Hunt's announcement at an Age UK conference last week, followed the publication of the NHS Mandate where he announced that significant progress will be made towards 3 million people being able to benefit from telehealth by 2017.

Jeremy Hunt confirmed that seven 'pathfinders' - NHS and local authority organisations including clinical commissioning groups - are to agree contracts with industry suppliers that will mean 100,000 people being able to benefit from telehealth in 2012.

Leading technology companies will be supplying the NHS with the technologies and services at no upfront cost.

This commitment makes England the leading centre for telehealth outside the US, and is part of the overall ambition to make progress towards 3 million people benefitting from telehealth by 2017. Tenders for the work are being developed and the NHS Commissioning Board will lead on promoting telehealth from April next year.

Mr Hunt said: 'People with long-term conditions see doctors and nurses more than most of us - £7 out of every £10 spent on the health budget go towards supporting them. I want to free people with long-term conditions from the constant merry-go-round of doctors' surgeries and hospitals.

'Technology can help people manage their condition at home, free up a lot of time and save the NHS money. In a world where technology increasingly helps us manage our social and professional lives, it seems logical that it should also help people manage their health."

Research funded by the DH showed that using telehealth could result in a 20 per cent reduction in emergency admissions, a 15 per cent reduction in A&E visits and a 45 per cent reduction in mortality.

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