Home based telehealth does not improve quality of life for patients with long term conditions

February 26, 2013

Telehealth does not improve generic health related quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients with long term conditions over 12 months, finds a study published on BMJ website today.

As such, the researchers say "it should not be used as a tool to achieve improvements in generic health related quality of life or ."

Telehealth uses technology to help people with live more independently at home. For example, blood pressure or can be measured at home and electronically transmitted to a health professional, reducing the need for hospital visits.

For long term conditions, telehealth has been promoted to reduce while improving health related quality of life, but evidence to support this is mixed.

So, a team of UK researchers set out to assess the impact of second generation home based telehealth on generic health related quality of life, anxiety and over 12 months in patients with long term conditions.

The study is part of the Whole Systems Demonstrator Trial - one of the largest and most comprehensive investigations of telehealth and telecare ever conducted.

Just over 1,500 patients with COPD, diabetes or from three regions of England (Cornwall, Kent and London) took part in the study.

Generic health related quality of life, anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed using recognised scoring scales at the start of the study and again at four and 12 months. Results for those receiving home based telehealth were compared with those receiving usual care.

Overall, the findings show that, compared with usual care, second generation telehealth had no effect on generic health related quality of life, anxiety, or depressive symptoms for patients with , diabetes, or heart failure over 12 months.

Further analyses across different measures did not alter the results, and the findings suggest that concerns about potentially deleterious effect of telehealth are unfounded for most patients, say the authors.

"More research is required to understand the many potential beneficial and harmful mechanisms by which telehealth could affect patient reported outcomes," they conclude. However, our findings strongly suggest no net benefit from telehealth; therefore, it should not be used as a tool to improve health related QoL or psychological outcomes.

Explore further: Telehealth for diabetes promotes aging at home, not in the hospital

More information: www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.f653

Related Stories

Can telemedicine improve geriatric depression?

October 3, 2010

Studies have shown a high rate of depression among elderly homebound individuals, and few patients receive adequate treatment, if any. To address this issue, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and other organizations have ...

Telehealth keeps asthmatics out of hospitals

October 6, 2010

Health care delivered via telephone or Internet might not improve the quality of life for people with mild asthma, but it could keep those with severe asthma out of the hospital, a new evidence review finds.

Recommended for you

'Business diet' a bad deal for the heart

August 19, 2016

(HealthDay)—The typical "social business diet"—heavy on red meats, sweet drinks, processed snacks and booze—takes a toll on the heart, a new study finds.

Concussion rates rising significantly in adolescents

August 18, 2016

The number of Americans diagnosed with concussions is growing, most significantly in adolescents, according to researchers at UC San Francisco. They recommend that adolescents be prioritized for ongoing work in concussion ...

Large trial proposed to compare HCTZ, chlorthalidone

August 17, 2016

(HealthDay)—A large randomized trial is being developed to compare the effectiveness of hydrochlorothiazide with chlorthalidone in Veterans Affairs (VA) patients, according to an Ideas and Opinions piece published online ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.