PR Newswire published a press release yesterday on commercialisation of the Telehealth Hub described in a presentation by Dr Richard Pope at the Kings Fund Third Annual International Congress on Telehealth and Telecare on the 2nd of July 2013. In that presentation Richard Pope, Director of Innovation and Research at Airedale NHS Trust, gave details of the Telehealth Hub at Airedale and the effect it appears to have had on hospital admissions, length of hospital stays and use of A&E.
Airedale NHS Trust and Involve-Visual Ltd, previously known as Martin Dawes Solutions Ltd, the technology “partner” have formed a joint venture, Immedicare, to market the system being used at Airedale. As the system was developed using public funds and a large number of partners, how much of the resulting profits, if any, would return to them, I wonder.
The Telehealth Hub at Airedale Hospital is a video link system which allows patients with long-term conditions to have face-to-face consultations from their residential and nursing homes. It started in September 2011 with money from Regional Innovation Funds and is a partnership between Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Barnsley, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust, NHS Yrkshire and Humber, University of Hull and the Health Innovation and Education Cluster (see here for more details). In spring this year Airedale NHS Foundation Trust announced that the 1000th patient had been connected to the system.
The findings presented at the Kings Fund congress in July was from 17 nursing and residential care homes and compared the 12-month period before the introduction of the Telehealth Hub with the 12-month period after it was used and showed, in the case of care homes, that there was a 45% drop in hospital admissions, 30% reduction in the length of stay and 69% drop in the use of A&E. Given that this is from a single study care should be taken in coming to any conclusions, but Richard Pope notes that this could amount to a saving of roughly between £300k and £1M a year. A formal study with a control group is being planned.