EY responds to results announced today showing benefits of giving high-tech equipment to patients

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EY has welcomed major findings today which shows that better use of technology in the home can reduce emergency admissions and lead to improvements in patient care.

The announcement is available here

The Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme is a two year research project funded by the Department of Health to find out how technology can help people manage their own health while maintaining their independence, ultimately leading to reduced pressure upon the NHS. For over two years now EY have played a major part in deploying telehealth at scale in a number of NHS regions alongside WSD, which is the largest randomised control trial of telecare and telehealth in the world to date. 

The WSD results are consistent with the findings EY have seen in practice and present a compelling case to use telehealth to tackle the root cause of demand:

  • 15% reduction in A&E visits
  • 20% reduction in emergency admissions,
  • 14% reduction in elective admissions, a 14% reduction in bed days
  • 8% reduction in tariff costs.
  • Telehealth pilots also demonstrate a 45% reduction in mortality rates.

Joe Stringer, partner, Health Advisory Services, EY said: “The use of simple but effective technology in the NHS has been shown to drastically reduce hospital visits, save money and improve care for those with long term conditions like COPD and diabetes. However equipment is really only a fraction of the challenge.

“With the results so positive there is now a real risk that commissioners will rush out and place vast orders with equipment providers without looking at how it will deliver the outcomes the NHS so desperately needs.  This shouldn't be seen as 'implementing telehealth', rather it should be approached as redesigning the services offered to patients, and thinking how telehealth can enable that change.  This requires significant energy and patience to persuade the clinical community to change many working practices that haven't changed since medical school.  If commissioners rush out and buy the toys now and the primary and secondary community don't believe in the benefits, it will wind up in cupboards as souvenirs of another failed commissioning change programme.”

Benefits of telehealth

“Though the statistics are impressive there are softer benefits. The equipment is no more difficult to use than a kettle or a TV remote Patients recognise their own symptoms, take ownership of their disease and change their lifestyle. Family members who act as carers feel confident leaving the house because exceptional measurements are spotted. We know of consultants who have changed their clinical decisions based on telehealth data brought in by the patient. There’s an undeniable logic that 3 months’ measurements of vital signs will provide a fuller picture than one-off measurements in outpatients. Medicine has been practiced as a face to face interaction between doctor and patient ever since. Telehealth is changing that doctor patient relationship, and the NHS needs to embrace it.”