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Partnership to make telehealth commissioning easier

Partnership to make telehealth commissioning easier

Access to technology enabled care varies widely between different CCGs

The industry body for telehealth has partnered with a procurement service to fix commissioning problems in technology enabled care (TEC).

Telecare Services Association (TSA), the UK membership body for TEC services, is now working with Inprova Group, a procurement specialist, to address problems in telehealth commissioning and procurement, which is believed to be unconnected, uncompetitive and often non-compliant.

Access to technology enabled care varies widely between different CCGs.

A recent report on digital health in the UK indicates that 108 out of 176 CCGs were commissioning telehealth services in 2013/14 and expecting to spend around £15.2 million in total in this period.

However, 28% of these reported problems with implementation including issues with suppliers and lack of end-user adoption. These problems resulted in far less patients accessing telehealth than anticipated.

Many clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) buy telehealth equipment and monitoring services separately, directly from suppliers, in low quantities and at uncompetitive prices.

Furthermore, a large proportion of health service providers opt for contracts lasting seven years, meaning they can’t benefit from the latest technological advancements.

Inprova Group and the TSA hope to address these issues by increasing the affordability and availability of TEC and strengthening supply chains.

They have said this will be done by aggregating demand across different CCGs as well as acute and community providers, local authorities and housing associations to control prices, raise quality and encourage innovation in the supply chain.

Compliant framework agreements will be set up allowing CCGs and other public sector organisations to buy a wide range of TEC goods and services in line with procurement regulations and at competitive prices.

The partnership will also help providers and CCGs to manage the procurement process, offering support with the design of contract specifications, conducting tenders, evaluating supplier performance and analysing spend data.

Steve Malone, managing director of Inprova Group, said: “Local authorities, social landlords, CCGs, acute and community providers currently buy technology enabled care in silos.

“As a result, the market is fragmented and there is very little collaboration around volume, quality assurance or market insight.

“With unprecedented financial pressure on public sector budgets; housing, health and social care providers could shave a significant amount off their telecare costs and drive up quality by working together.”

Alyson Scurfield, TSA’s chief executive, said:  “I am delighted with this exciting new partnership that is helping the technology enabled care sector to collaborate and support the redesign of public sector service provision.

“We will be working in partnership with commissioners to put service users and their representatives at the ‘front and centre’ of new models of care.”

The TSA has a membership of more than 350 organisations that provide TEC services to local people including CCGs, acute and community providers, councils, housing associations and voluntary sector groups.

Inprova Group run social housing consortium, Procurement for Housing which manages the purchasing and supply of over £4m of goods and services every week for more than 900 social landlords.


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