[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 1, August 2012].
This randomised trial assessed the effect of home-based telehealth interventions on the use of secondary healthcare and mortality. 179 general practices were involved in three areas in England, and 3230 people with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or heart failure were recruited into the trial. The proportion of patients admitted to hospital during 12 month trial period was then investigated as the main outcome measure. It was found that telehealth is associated with lower mortality and fewer emergency admission rates. Length of hospital stay also appears to be shorter in the case of patients receiving telehealth at home.
The authors point out that the estimated scale of hospital cost savings for commissioners of care is likely to be modest, and the costs of the telehealth intervention must also be considered.
Steventon A, Bardsley M, Billings J, [et al] (2012). Effect of telehealth on use of secondary care and mortality: findings from the Whole System Demonstrator cluster randomised trial. BMJ (Clinical Research ed.), June 21st 2012, 344, e3874. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).