Leicester City CCG sets impressive standard for COPD telehealth savings

EHI describes what looks to be a hugely impressive COPD project being run by NHS Leicester City CCG.  Using a “definition of saved admissions that identifies when a clinical intervention has been made that stops a patient being admitted to hospital within 14 days” they reckon they have prevented 107 hospital admissions over the past 30 weeks and they are currently up to only 47 patients.  As these 30 weeks referred to will have spanned the winter months (usually the worst time for COPD exacerbations) even if there are no avoided hospitalisations at all in the remaining 22 weeks to the first anniversary of the project, on these figures they are preventing upwards of two and a quarter hospitalisations per patient per year which is significantly higher than I have ever been able to justify on previous evidence when writing telehealth business cases.

Emma-Jane Roberts, the programme manager, explained to EHI that the secret was close integration between the technology, personal coaching (from Totally Health), and education for patients. which of course is what those of us who have been implementing telehealth for some time have been arguing for, so it’s great to see these claims of success from delivering such integration.

The kit being used is Leicester-based Spirit Healthcare’s Clinitouch which according to their website is both “a proven Tele-Health system tried and tested for over  15 years.” as well as being “the latest Tele-Health  technology”.

The web site is refreshingly different from many other medical technology sites and has certainly got some impressively striking images on it (though none I could find of a Clinitouch, apart from a very brief flash in the video on the site).  However as I suspect Steve Hards chose me as one of his replacement editors largely because we share a love of well-written English, I feel I must warn readers of a delicate disposition that they do risk encountering sentences such as: “Most  Non Melanoma Skin Cancer’s can be successfully  treated  with surgery.” (sic).

Interestingly Totally Health also write up the project and in more detail than EHI though without any mention of Spirit Healthcare, or the Clinitouch, I could find.  From this we learn that during the first 26-week period of the original pilot “The admission rate for this 50-person cohort of patients has fallen from an average 3.29 unscheduled admissions to 1.24.” which seems to support my earlier calculations of a reduction of upwards of two and a quarter hospitalisations.  The claimed saving is £353,000 for 87 avoided hospitalisations, which works out at just over £4k/avoided hospitalisation.  The item also reports that “almost a third of patients (30%) are already reporting an improvement in their well-being”.

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