Effect of telecare on use of health and social care services: latest WSD findings publication (UK)

The latest journal article containing results of the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme has just been published and the conclusion is “Telecare as implemented in the Whole Systems Demonstrator trial did not lead to significant reductions in service use, at least in terms of results assessed over 12 months.” We note the “as implemented” caveat. Article, from where it can also be downloaded as a PDF: Effect of telecare on use of health and social care services. Age and Ageing. Heads up thanks to Mike Clark.

UPDATE: 6 March 2013. The GP paper Pulse’s take on the study: No evidence telecare can cut costs, says DH-funded study.

UK doctors give thumbs down to ‘remote care monitoring’

The British Medical Association’s (BMA) General Practitioners Committee (GPC) has written to the Department of Health (DH) with an analysis of the results of a consultation exercise and the surveying it has done to assess GPs’ views on the effect the forthcoming changes to their contract will have on their services. The relevant points for people who wish to promote telehealth remote monitoring are paragraphs 47 – 55, starting on page 13 of the BMA’s letter to DH. (PDF) Basically they are saying ‘It’s too difficult; we don’t believe it helps ease our work or that patients like it; so we can’t be bothered and please re-think making us do it.”

However, this reaction has to be seen in the context of the response as a whole. The BMA (as the doctors’ ‘union’), has a particular need to spin the results in the most negative way and the survey was undertaken at a time when GPs’ morale has been low and, on page 1, the BMA summarises the complete findings as:

“An overwhelming 88% of GPs responding to our survey with some awareness of the proposed contract imposition agreed with the statement that they personally will be less able to offer good quality care to their patients as a result of this imposition. Of the 58% of GPs who said they were prepared to take action and who expected to make changes as a result of the imposition:

54% said they expected their practice to have to reduce access to patients.
– 91% of these said that GPs would not be able to see patients for routine appointments as quickly as they currently do
– 72% thought they would have to reduce the number of consultations offered to free up time for the new workload
– 75% expected to reduce the range of services offered to patients.
82% expected to have to make changes to staff working hours or employment
52% expected to reduce their use of locums

Heads-up thanks to Mike Burton.