Telehealth: a tale of two headlines

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In November 2012, research funded by the Department of health reported a 20% reduction in emergency admissions.

It was widely reported that health technologies were set to improve the lives of people with long term conditions. Also with reductions  in A&E visits and  a substantial, 40% reduction in mortality.

Health Secretary at the time, Jeremy Hunt said, “Technology can help people manage their condition at home, free up a lot of time and save the NHS money. In a world where technology increasingly helps us manage our social and professional lives, it seems logical that it should also help people manage their health.”

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But and its a big but, last week the BMJ reported the peer reviewed results of the effects of the same study on quality of life and psychological outcomes for the very same whole system demonstrator: reporting it was not effective when compared with usual care.

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In June 2012 – the mortality findings were reported in the in the BMJ – showing  Telehealth is associated with lower mortality and emergency admission rates.

Now unless I missed something, and correct me if I have, these are the same studies; but they come to almost exact opposite conclusions. Can someone tie the ends together and let me know what is going on: it seems Jeremy Hunt and myself are pretty confused.

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