Telemedicine benefits COPD-patients and health expenditure


During the 2016 financial framework agreements, central government, Danish Regions and Local Government Denmark agreed to disseminate telemedical home monitoring to patients with COPD nationally by the end of 2019.

Recently, a business case based on solid data from Denmark’s largest pilot project regarding telemedical home monitoring, TeleCare Nord, has been completed. As part of a research study, TeleCare Nord studied the effects of telemedical home monitoring on 1,225 patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) separated in a control group and an intervention group.

The business case shows that telemedical home monitoring benefits patients in several areas. The patients become more knowledgeable about their own disease, gain better skills to self-care and influence on their own condition. Furthermore, patients in the intervention group experienced higher quality of life and safety compared to the control group. At the same time the business case shows gains for health expenditure.

There are both great financial gains and costs associated with a national dissemination of telemedical home monitoring for patients with COPD. The business case calculations show that the national accumulated net potential is positive by DKK 483 million over five years, while the yearly net potential at full phase-in of the business case is DKK 202 million.

The economic gains are primarily derived from the preventive effects for patients with COPD, especially in regard to a decrease in and length of hospitalizations as well as decrease in the need for practical help and municipal care. Additionally, telemedical home monitoring results in fewer outpatient consultations and consultations in general practice.

The costs mainly consist of acquisition and ongoing replacement of the telemedical equipment for the patients as well as municipal expenses going towards monitoring patient data. Moreover, there will be costs for project management, education of the caregiving staff, training of patients with COPD, operation management, development in medical consumption and an increase in local nursing efforts.

The national dissemination of telemedical home monitoring for patients with COPD is based in a national portfolio steering committee with representatives from the municipalities, regions and central government.