Study: Telehealth cuts patient deaths by 45%

Think the VA's 100,000 iPad purchase is big? Just look across the Atlantic, where a truly mammoth mobile health implementation is getting underway. Britain's Department of Health has indicated it wants to install remote patient monitoring in the homes of 3 million patients.

The project, dubbed 3Million Lives, is in its infancy, agency officials admit. The detailed plan--including who will provide the technology, which patients will participate and which hospitals will provide the monitoring services--"is still in the early stages of development."

But the government is convinced it's on the right road because of new findings from what may be the largest-ever remote patient monitoring/telehealth study--the Whole System Demonstrator program. The study took place over three years and covered nearly 6,200 patients in three cities suffering from one of three primary conditions: diabetes, heart failure or COPD.

The most powerful finding: Remote monitoring reduced mortality rates by 45 percent. Other data was pretty convincing as to telehealth's value, as well, as the study showed that such interventions:

  • Reduced emergency visits by 15 percent;
  • Cut emergency admissions by 20 percent;
  • Slashed elective admissions by 14 percent;
  • Decreased bed days by 14 percent; and
  • Shaved tariff costs by 8 percent.

UK regulators admit they may be moving a bit fast: While they're touting the 3Million Lives campaign, the report itself indicates that six universities are still in the midst of evaluating the data. "[M]ore detailed analysis of the data will result in further papers being published over the coming months and years," the study's authors state.

The government report didn't indicate which vendors' technologies were used in the study, however, Royal Philips Electronics NV has since announced it was one of the three participating vendors.

To learn more:
- here's the UK Department of Health's study
- check out this Computing article
- get a business perspective from NASDAQ
- read this piece from Computerworld