We’ve recently read a great presentation from The King’s Fund which looks at the impact of telehealth on the management of Long Term Conditions – unsurprisingly to us, this impact was found to be positive overall.
The Kings Fund looked at 64 telehealth studies, which covered seven different long term health conditions. The majority of studies were for patients suffering with diabetes or heart failure/stroke.
In one heart failure case study, the use of telehealth was able to reduce the hospitalisation rate of effected patient by a massive 47.5%. In one diabetes case study the cost of giving care to the patients was reduced by €650 per patient versus traditional care methods. Not only did the diabetes case study reduce the healthcare costs, but it also reduced patient’s work absences.
If you would like to view the whole presentation click here.
The methods used to implement changes such as the use of telehealth are a crucial factor for its success.
In 2011 around 50,000 VHA patients received telehealth services and this number looks set to rise, making this the largest implementation of telehealth worldwide. These telehealth services are for designated individuals and populations across the USA. Initially this programme’s focus was on the active management of chronic conditions and post traumatic stress disorder, however following this success it is moving into other areas such as obesity management.
Currently in the UK there are more than 15 million people who suffer from conditions that cannot be cured, but can be managed through medication. As part of the Life Sciences program, 3 million people will be given access to telehealth technology in their homes. The recently published Department of Health’s Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) Programme headline findings document shows how these patients can benefit from telecare. It has been acknowledged that with many telehealth pilot projects currently running within the NHS, the overall approach is somewhat disjointed.
There are a number of similarities between the VHA and NHS and it is with these similarities in mind where it is felt that the NHS could learn from the VHA’s telehealth experiences. The table below, showing the potential scale and cost saving within key disease groups across the NHS, has been taken from the full report – Telehealth – What can the NHS learn from experience at the US Veterans Health Administration? There is a lot of very useful and interesting information in this report – definitely worth a read!