Study finds UK telehealth is expensive - Mobile World Live

Study finds UK telehealth is expensive

04 JUL 2012

Catherine Henderson, a researcher from the London School of Economics, has delivered early findings from the institution’s study of the UK’s whole system demonstrator (WSD) trial. Speaking at a public event in London, she said telehealth would cost about £92,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY), the measure used by NICE, the organisation that decides which drugs and treatments are available via the NHS in England and Wales, according to GP Online. NICE traditionally rejects drugs and medical devices with a QALY value of more than £20,000-£30,000, says the article.

Henderson said telehealth equipment prices are falling but would need to drop by between 50 percent and 80 percent to represent good value to the NHS. And even if prices do fall by this range then there was only a 61 percent chance that telehealth could be cost efficient in what she termed “the most optimistic scenario”.

The LSE’s analysis has yet to be peer reviewed before the study's final publication. This is the second of five studies that will analyse various aspects of the WSD trial. The first study by the Nuffield Trust was published a fortnight ago.

Such findings will also give support to those critics who argue traditional telehealth equipment is too expensive and more emphasis should be put be on smartphones and app technology which could provide a more cost effective alternative.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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