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CCG reviews cost-effectiveness of flagship telehealth scheme

One of the Government’s pioneer telehealth areas is reviewing its use of the technology due to concerns over cost-effectiveness.

East Riding of Yorkshire CCG is set to scrap its Government-championed telehealth service because it does not provide good value for money.

The CCG has confirmed that the service, which formed part of one of the Government’s original telehealth pathfinder schemes in North Yorkshire and the Humber, has been axed because it is not cost effective.

Pulse revealed earlier this year that the pathfinder areas had recruited just a fraction of the patients they set out to, just over 8,000 users signed up, despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt last year pledging that 100,000 patients would be helped by the end of 2013.

A CCG spokeswomen confirmed that notice has been served on the current providers of the telehealth service. She added that patients and care homes would continue to be able to use the Telehealth units until 31 December.  

‘We are exploring alternative commissioning options to ensure the best use of telehealth, or other technological developments, in the future with a view to targeting those individuals who can most benefit from this technology, such as people with specific long-term conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure, and where clinical and cost effectiveness can be demonstrated,’ she added.

East Riding of Yorkshire first commissioned telehealth services for remote physiological monitoring in 2010 and then went on to form part of the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Telehealth Hub which was launched as a one of the Government’s seven pathfinder sites last year.

In January 2012 the Department of Health announced a concordat between the Government and the telecare industry and launched a national telehealth drive to transform the lives of three million patients with long-term conditions within five years.

The rollout followed the publication of the results from two-year telehealth Whole System Demonstrator Pilot, which studied the impact of telehealth on 6,191 patients across 238 practices and found a 45% reduction in mortality and a 20% fall in emergency admissions.

But researchers found the scheme cost £92,000 per quality adjusted life year, almost three times the upper limit for cost effectiveness set by NICE.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Is everyone else getting concerned with the frequency that the "cost saving innovative pilot" becomes the financial white elephant in operation?
    Someone cheer me up and post an innovation that has gone from pilot to operation and saved money please.
    As Einstein is reported to have said the only true insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

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  • Vinci Ho

    But he also said, 'two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity but I am not sure about the former...'

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  • Costs are rapidly coming down. One can now get WiFi Blood Pressure monitors and scales from Blipcare for $100-150 each. All one needs is WiFi at home (or they can get it from BT or Vodaphone). Followup can be done via automated calls for a very nominal cost per month. This design is about 90% below the costs of WSD - making costs for quality adjusted life year affordable!

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