Background to the study

With an increasingly ageing population, more and more people are living with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, heart problems and depression. It is, therefore, important that the NHS explores new ways of providing health care for people with long-term conditions.

The Healthlines Study was designed to help identify potential ways to reach out to more people and promote self-care, self-management and greater independence. To do this, a team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, NHS Direct and Solent NHS Trust worked together to develop and evaluate a new telehealth service.

This service was initially delivered within the context of NHS Direct. After the closure of NHS Direct in March 2014, Solent NHS Trust became the host service provider. The service was delivered for research purposes and is not being provided currently.

What did the research involve?

The Healthlines Study research programme was made up of five research activities:

The information we gathered from the research we did in Activities 1, 2 and 3 was used to develop the new Healthlines Service in Activity 4.  In Activity 5, we conducted two large studies in parallel in different long term conditions to assess whether the Healthlines Service we designed was useful for patients and was good value for money.  If the results of Activity 5 are positive, the service could in future be rolled out relatively quickly nationwide, thereby benefiting a large number of people who are living with long-term conditions.

What types of patients were involved in the study?

In order to find out more about how the NHS can support people with long-term conditions better, we asked patients, doctors and nurses to give us their views and experiences.

For the purposes of the study, we focussed on two particular groups of patients with long-term conditions:

We chose to focus on these two long-term conditions because:

Who funded the research?

The Healthlines Study was a five-year project funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is part of the Department of Health. (Grant Reference Number RP-PG-0108-10011). The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the NHS or the Department of Health.