Analysis of the Birmingham OwnHealth service – not the bad news it seems?

The BMJ has just published an open access paper entitled “Effect of telephone health coaching (Birmingham OwnHealth) on hospital use and associated costs: cohort study with matched controls” (BMJ2013;347:f4585, Steventon et Al).  It reaches the rather depressing headline conclusion that telephone coaching did not reduce unplanned hospitalisations and if anything increased them.

This looks to fly in the face of the apparently less academically rigorous recent claims by the Leicester City CCG and Totally Health, that they reduced hospitalisations significantly, saving some £353,000 over a 30 week period with a cohort of between 47 & 50 patients that we reported recently.

However reading on, perhaps a key passage, in the conclusion, is (more…)