GP Online, which, as we have previously noted, has been taking a strongly sceptical line on telehealth attended a Westminster Health Forum event in London yesterday, where the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) cost evidence was apparently exposed in more detail than at the King’s Fund Congress in March.They liked what they heard even less:
‘Catherine Henderson, an LSE researcher, presented early findings from a separate economic analysis of the trial…Her team compared the likely benefit to patients to the costs of equipment, support and infrastructure needed to run the service at the time of the trial in 2009/10. Their analysis, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found telehealth would cost around £92,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY), the measure used by NICE to calculate the value of a drug or other medical product to the NHS. The watchdog has traditionally rejected drugs and other medical devices when this value climbs above £20,000-£30,000…Ms Henderson said: “On the basis of the results we concluded that it’s unlikely that the telehealth intervention is cost effective in terms of improving quality of life, in reference to the NICE willingness-to-pay threshold, the QALY.” The average annual cost was £1,850 per patient per year. Equipment costs are beginning to fall, Ms Henderson added, but would need to drop by 50% to 80% for a telehealth service to provide good value to the NHS.’
GP Online full report: Telehealth ‘three times over NICE cost limit’.