The impact of telehealth and telecare: the Whole System Demonstrator project

The impact of telehealth and telecare: the Whole System Demonstrator project

Author: Nuffield Trust

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The Nuffield Trust is leading one aspect of the evaluation of the Department of Health’s large-scale pilot project, known as the ‘Whole System Demonstrators’, to test the benefits of integrated health and social care supported by assistive technologies like telecare and telehealth. This webpage contains a series of published articles setting out findings from the evaluation.

Articles available through the webpage are:

  • Impact of telehealth on general practice contacts (BMC Health Services Research, October 2013)The WSD trial found no differences between telehealth and control users in terms of contacts with GPs or practice nurses as recorded on GP computer systems.
  • Effect of telecare on use of health and social care services (Age and Ageing, February 2013)Telecare as implemented in the WSD trial did not lead to significant reductions in service use, at least in terms of results assessed over 12 months.
  • Effect of telehealth on quality of life (British Medical Journal, February 2013)Home-based telehealth as implemented in the WSD evaluation did not improve quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients over 12 months. The findings suggest that concerns about potentially deleterious effects of telehealth are unfounded for most patients.
  • Organisational impact of WSD trial (BMC Health Services Research, November 2012)The implementation of a complex innovation such as remote care has to be responsive and adaptable to the local health and social care system.
  • Effect of telehealth on use of secondary care and mortality (British Medical Journal, June 2012)Telehealth is associated with lower mortality and emergency admission rates. The reasons for the short-term increases in admissions for the control group are not clear, but the trial recruitment processes could have had an effect.
  • Barriers to participation and adoption of telehealth and telecare within the WSD trial (BMC Health Services Research, July 2012)These findings, regarding perceptions of potential disruption of interventions to identity and services, go beyond more common expectations that concerns about privacy and dislike of technology deter uptake. It seems especially important for potential recipients to have the opportunity to discuss their expectations and such views might usefully feed back into design and implementation.
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