Back in October 2010 Telecare Aware readers were raising doubts about the cost-effectiveness of North Yorkshire and Yorks’ PCTs procurement of 2000 telehealth units. [In fairness, not all the £3.2m project cost went to equipment supplier Tunstall. We understand that nearly £1m of it went to project consultants Ernst & Young.]
Now the local paper reports “The programme is the biggest* telehealth project ordered by a single organisation in England but an internal audit report by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT), seen by the Yorkshire Post, has failed to find any evidence to justify its scale.”
The Yorkshire Post has four takes on this story and reveals a few more interesting facts:
UPDATE Sunday – and another one…looks like the ‘health chiefs’ are trying to do some damage limitation. (Or else it is the end fragment of something else…)
* There has since been the Gloucsetershire procurement of 2,000 telehealth units from Tunstall. Project cost £5million.
UPDATE Wed 25th – eHealth Insider has some additional information. “The audit found no evidence to explain why so many devices were purchased, other than ‘anecdotal’ reports that the decision was “not based on any prevalence or other data, but rather on the maximum number of units that the PCT could afford.” Yorks telehealth delays run up costs.
UPDATE Thur 26th – the story is flexing its legs with more people wading in. Here are the more interesting ones…
- Pro-telehealth David Hinchliffe (former MP and Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee) [and ex-adviser to Tunstall] lays into the local GPs: GPs lagging behind times over use of telehealthcare units [worth reading]
- An American take: Telehealth failure a cautionary tale for U.S. (fierceHealthIT) based on Management in Practice’s Practices offered cash to refer patients to telehealth item – worth viewing for the end of page comment by a GP in Gloucestershire, which has an even costlier project – see * above.
- Then there’s the item by the GP’s own paper, The Pulse: GPs urge ministers to rethink telehealth drive as low takeup in pilot area revealed. Definitely worth reading the comments here.
- NHS has to pay docs to put life-sign sensors in patients’ digs The Register mangles it a bit.
- Kerry Wheeler, assistant director of strategy for NHS North Yorkshire and York, denies that incentives are being offered to GPs…they are [just] a “small payment to cover the initial workload associated with identifying and referring patients” ‘No cash incentives’ to promote GP health systems The York Press.
Well, you know where you read it first, 15 months ago.