• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: White paper
  • Date: 3/27/2012

Case study: UK Department of Health: Whole System Demonstrator program 

Having undertaken a series of clinical trials, small pilots and meta-data reviews, the UK’s Department of Health (DoH) recognized that – while the case for telehealth was strengthening – the evidence lacked scale, statistical significance and robust cost-savings data. As a result, the DoH launched the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) program in May 2008. Preliminary findings from this, the largest randomized control trial of its kind in the world, prove how eHealth delivers on its promise to be truly transformational.

Changing the model of care to enhance patient outcomes

WSD sought to build the evidence for a new way of providing patient care through integrated health and social care provision, supported by advanced assistive technologies such as telehealth and telecare. It involved more than 6,000 participants across three locations.

The program selected five main themes upon which to evaluate the system:

  • the impact upon service utilization and costs across health and social care,
  • the impact upon the lives of participants and carers,
  • the cost and cost-effectiveness of the service,
  • the views and experiences of users, carers and professionals involved in the program,
  • the impact of change, collaborative working and large-scale programs on the organization and individual.

“What we have seen in preliminary results is that telehealth and telecare – when applied to chronic disease areas such as diabetes, COPD and heart conditions – can provide a valuable alternative to the current model of patient care in the UK,” noted Andrew Hine, a Partner with KPMG in the UK. “And by treating patients outside of the emergency or ambulatory wards, the program has effectively changed the model of care that is provided to some of the most frequent users of health services.”

The project represents a strong example of all three eHealth concepts: collaborative alignment (bringing together multiple stakeholders across the health care continuum), crowd accelerated innovation (building the mass required to generate change), and creative dislocation (changing the way chronic disease sufferers interact with the system).

The WSD “Headline Findings – December 2011 – released by the Department of Health” reveals the significant benefits of telehealth: "If used correctly telehealth can deliver a 15 percent reduction in A&E visits, a 20 percent reduction in emergency admissions, a 14 percent reduction in elective admissions, a 14 percent reduction in bed days and an 8 percent reduction in tariff costs. More strikingly they also demonstrate a 45 percent reduction in mortality rates.”


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