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Telehealth 'of no benefit to patients with long-term conditions'

Telehealth 'of no benefit to patients with long-term conditions'
28th February 2013

Telehealth technologies are not expected to have as big an impact on patient care as first thought.

The Department of Health's whole system demonstrator (WSD) evaluation of telehealth and telecare has suggested the technologies do not beneficially affect a patient's quality of life, or help to reduce anxiety or instances of depression, the Guardian reports.

It had been hoped the technologies would enable increased support for the 15 million people in the UK who have long-term health issues, while also reducing the strain on the NHS.

Half of all GP appointments and three-quarters of hospital beds are taken up by these patients and remote monitoring of their conditions was expected to provide a breakthrough in care.

However, research conducted over 12 months on around 1,500 patients has suggested this will not be the case.

Presenting their conclusions in the British Medical Journal, the WSD team stated: "Our findings strongly suggest no net benefit from telehealth; therefore, it should not be used as a tool to improve health-related quality of life or psychological outcomes."

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