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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

A comprehensive evaluation of the impact of telemonitoring in patients with long-term conditions and social care needs: protocol for the whole systems demonstrator cluster randomised trial

Peter Bower1, Martin Cartwright2, Shashivadan P Hirani2, James Barlow3, Jane Hendy3, Martin Knapp45, Catherine Henderson4, Anne Rogers1, Caroline Sanders1, Martin Bardsley6, Adam Steventon6, Raymond Fitzpatrick7, Helen Doll7 and Stanton Newman2*

Author affiliations

1 Health Sciences Research Group, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

2 School of Community and Health Sciences, City University, London, UK

3 Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, London, UK

4 Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

5 Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK

6 Nuffield Trust, London, UK

7 Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:184  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-184

Published: 5 August 2011

Abstract

Background

It is expected that increased demands on services will result from expanding numbers of older people with long-term conditions and social care needs. There is significant interest in the potential for technology to reduce utilisation of health services in these patient populations, including telecare (the remote, automatic and passive monitoring of changes in an individual's condition or lifestyle) and telehealth (the remote exchange of data between a patient and health care professional). The potential of telehealth and telecare technology to improve care and reduce costs is limited by a lack of rigorous evidence of actual impact.

Methods/Design

We are conducting a large scale, multi-site study of the implementation, impact and acceptability of these new technologies. A major part of the evaluation is a cluster-randomised controlled trial of telehealth and telecare versus usual care in patients with long-term conditions or social care needs. The trial involves a number of outcomes, including health care utilisation and quality of life. We describe the broad evaluation and the methods of the cluster randomised trial

Discussion

If telehealth and telecare technology proves effective, it will provide additional options for health services worldwide to deliver care for populations with high levels of need.

Trial Registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43002091