Impact of ‘Virtual Wards’ on hospital use: a research study using propensity matched controls and a cost analysis – NHS National Institute for Health Research – November 2013

Posted on November 7, 2013. Filed under: Chronic Disease Mgmt, Health Economics | Tags: , , |

Impact of ‘Virtual Wards’ on hospital use: a research study using propensity matched controls and a cost analysis – NHS National Institute for Health Research – November 2013

Lewis GH, Georghiou T, Steventon A, Vaithianathan R, Chitnis X, et al. Impact of ‘Virtual Wards’ on hospital use: a research study using propensity matched controls and a cost analysis. Final report. NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation programme; 2013.

Extract from the executive summary

“Background
Health care systems in many developed countries are currently under financial strain because of ageing populations, the rising prevalence of various chronic diseases, and budgetary constraints resulting from the global economic downturn.

The costs of providing health care are highly skewed across the population, with a small number of patients accounting for a large proportion of expenditure. Since unplanned hospital admissions account for a high proportion of costs, considerable resources could potentially be invested in providing preventive care for a relatively small number of costly patients and yet still potentially yield net savings overall from averted future hospital costs. In practice, however, such savings have been difficult or impossible to demonstrate.

One reason why preventive interventions may be unsuccessful at reducing demand is if they are offered to patients who are at insufficiently high risk of future unplanned hospital admission. In 2005, the Department of Health commissioned two “case finding” tools for improving the identification of high-risk patients in England. Known as “PARR” and the “Combined Model”, these predictive risk tools are now used in many parts of the country to select which high-risk patients should be offered a hospital-avoidance intervention.

One such intervention is the “virtual ward”. This model of care uses the staffing, systems and daily routines of a hospital ward to deliver preventive care to patients in their own homes in the aim of mitigating their risk of unplanned hospitalisation. Whilst virtual wards have been introduced in many parts of the UK and overseas, their efficacy and cost-effectiveness has yet to be determined.”

… continues

Related Article from the International Journal of Integrated Care

Integrating care for high-risk patients in England using the virtual ward model: lessons in the process of care integration from three case sites – November 2013

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