Department of Health: 'evidence needed for telehealth savings'
31 October 2012
More evidence on the cost effectiveness of telehealth is needed to help make services more attractive to NHS commissioners, a deputy director at the Department of Health (DH) has warned.
Speaking at the Telehealth 2012 conference, Stephen Johnson, deputy director of long term conditions at the DH, said that a "picture was starting to emerge" which showed that telehealth could improve outcomes for patients without increasing the workload for professionals.
Johnson however added that evidence also showed that the cost effectiveness of telehealth was not as good as "you might think", claiming that the savings from telehealth was about £188 per year, per patient.
According to Government Computing, Johnson said that telehealth was being "driven forward" by the 3 Million Lives programme, predicting that by 2016-17 telehealth would be mainstreamed into healthcare systems and would be readily available for people with long term conditions.
Dr Shane Gordon, the chief executive of north east Essex GP commissioning group said that his scepticism about telehealth was partly due to a lack of information about costs. "There is lots of evidence, but most of it does not cover cost effectiveness," he said.
The DH will be publishing guidance on using telehealth, though the department will not dictate which technologies should be used or how.