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The effect of telehealth on quality of life and psychological outcomes over a 12-month period in a diabetic cohort within the Whole Systems Demonstrator cluster randomised trial

Hirani, S. P., Rixon, L., Cartwright, M. , Beynon, M. & Newman, S. P. (2017). The effect of telehealth on quality of life and psychological outcomes over a 12-month period in a diabetic cohort within the Whole Systems Demonstrator cluster randomised trial. JMIR Diabetes, 2(2), article number e18. doi: 10.2196/diabetes.7128


Background: Much is written about the promise of telehealth and there is great enthusiasm about its potential. However, many studies of telehealth do not meet orthodox quality standards and there are few studies examining quality of life in diabetes as an outcome.

Objective: To assess the impact of home-based telehealth (remote monitoring of physiological, symptom and self-care behavior data for long-term conditions) on generic and disease-specific health-related quality of life, anxiety, and depressive symptoms over 12 months in patients with diabetes. Remote monitoring provides the potential to improve quality of life, through the reassurance it provides patients.

Methods: The study focused on participant-reported outcomes of patients with diabetes within the Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) Telehealth Questionnaire Study, nested within a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial of telehealth (the WSD Telehealth Trial), held across 3 regions of England. Telehealth was compared with usual-care, with general practice as the unit of randomization. Participant-reported outcome measures (ShortForm 12, EuroQual-5D, Diabetes Health Profile scales, Brief State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale) were collected at baseline, short-term (4 months) and long-term (12months) follow-ups. Intention-to-treat analyses testing treatment effectiveness, were conducted using multilevel models controlling for practice clustering and a range of covariates. Analyses assumed participants received their allocated treatment and were conducted for participants who completed the baseline plus at least one follow-up assessment (n=317).

Results: Primary analyses showed differences between telehealth and usual care were small and only reached significance for 1 scale [dibetes health profile-disinhibited eating, P=.006). The magnitude of differences between trial arms did not reach the trial-defined minimal clinically important difference of 0.3 standard deviations for any outcome. Effect sizes (Hedge's g) ranged from 0.015 to 0.143 for Generic quality of life (QoL) measures and 0.018 to 0.394 for disease specific measures.

Conclusions: Second generation home-based telehealth as implemented in the WSD evaluation was not effective in the subsample of people with diabetes. Overall, telehealth did not improve or have a deleterious effect quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients with diabetes over a 12-month period.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright JMIR Publications 2017.
Publisher Keywords: telehealth; self-monitoring; health-related quality of life: diabetes-specific quality of life
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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