The Whole System Demonstrator programme was set up by the Department of Health in May 2008 to show just what telehealth and telecare is capable of. To provide a clear evidence base to support important investment decisions and show how the technology supports people to live independently, take control and be responsible for their own health and care.
The programme is the largest randomised control trial of telehealth and telecare in the world, involving 6191 patients and 238 GP practices across three sites, Newham, Kent and Cornwall.
The initial findings show that, if delivered properly, telehealth can substantially reduce mortality, reduce the need for admissions to hospital, lower the number of bed days spent in hospital and reduce the time spent in A&E. They show that telehealth can deliver:
- a 15% reduction in A&E visits
- a 20% reduction in emergency admissions
- a 14% reduction in elective admissions
- a 14% reduction in bed days and
- an 8% reduction in tariff costs.
More strikingly they also demonstrate a 45% reduction in mortality rates. On the back of this interim report, the government has set out an ambition to extend the use new and emerging healthcare technologies to 3 million people over the next 5 years.