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2012 Conference Presentation

Technology EnglandUnited Kingdom

6 September 2012

The costs and consequences of introducing advanced assistive technologies for people with long-term needs and conditions: evidence from the Whole Systems Demonstrators trials in England

Catherine Henderson, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
M.Knapp, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
JL Fernandez, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
J. Beecham, London School of Economics, United Kingdom


Rationale: In the Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) pilots, two advanced assistive technologies were introduced within three geographically diverse areas in England. The pilots implemented ‘telehealth’ to individuals with long-term conditions (COPD, heart failure or diabetes) and ‘telecare’ to individuals with social care needs as part of whole-systems redesign. Proponents of assistive advanced technologies (AATs) have advocated their widespread implementation on the basis of anticipated cost savings and improvements in quality of life for service users. Evaluations of AATs, until recently, have been based on relatively small-scale pilots. WSD is the largest-scale trial of telehealth and telehealth to be carried out in the UK. The results now emerging from the evaluation will be of interest to those planning to invest in AATs. This presentation focuses on the telehealth arm of the trial.

Objectives: The economic evaluation aimed to examine the costs and cost-effectiveness of telehealth in addition to standard support and treatment, compared to standard support and treatment.

Methods: 3,230 people with a long term condition (heart failure, COPD, or diabetes) participated in a trial of a community-based telehealth intervention in three English local authority areas. A nested study collected information on patient-reported outcome measures and also on the self-reported use of health and social care services, providing the data for the cost-effectiveness analysis. The analysis took a health and social care perspective. The primary outcome was gain in the quality-adjusted life year (QALY); secondary outcomes included measures of health-related quality of life. We carried out multivariate analyses to explore the cost effectiveness of the intervention.

Results: The presentation will address the cost of support and treatment packages used by those participating in the telehealth questionnaire study and the results of the cost effectiveness analysis. These results will be available by the time of the presentation.

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