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Friday 21st October 2016

Telehealth does not improve quality of life

28th February 2013

Doubts have been cast over the ability of telehealth to help improve the quality of life for patients with long-term conditions.


A new report on the Whole Systems Demonstrator programme,which has been published in the British Medical Journal, focusses on an evaluation of the three WSD pilot sites in Kent, Cornwall and Newham.

The project was set up by the Department of Health to find evidence to support the use of telehealth and telecare technology.

But the report suggests that they were not only ineffective but that more research was required on the potentially harmful effects of telehealth on patient wellbeing.

The report, produced by researchers from a number of universities, said telehealth did not improve quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart failure, over a period of a year.

“For long term conditions, telehealth has been promoted to reduce healthcare costs while improving health related quality of life by facilitating self-monitoring with remote surveillance by healthcare professionals,” the report states.

“Evidence for the benefits of telehealth is ambivalent, with little empirical evidence on benefits on psychological outcomes.

“Our findings strongly suggest no net benefit from telehealth; therefore, it should not be used as a tool to improve health related quality of life or psychological outcomes.”

The WSD programme was set up in May 2008 with more than 6,000 patients in three areas of England involved.

To reach their findings, researchers analysed questionnaires filled out by patients between May 2008 and December 2009.


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