Telehealth Reduces Readmissions, Hospital Stays: Report

Technology-based health services might hold the solution for providers looking to reduce patient re-hospitalizations. While tech-driven care aspires to be a budding trend within the home health industry, providers must build on the experiences of others to ensure similar success. 

Remote patient monitoring (RPM)—such as telehealth and tele monitoring—can help improve patients’ experience of care, reduce hospitalization and the costs associated with them, according to a study from the Commonwealth Fund.

Referencing three providers as pioneers in home health monitoring, the study notes that an enterprise-wide implementation of tech-based services, like those of RPM, can lead to cost-effective, quality outcomes for chronic care patients if the appropriate steps are taken.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Partners HealthCare, and Centura Health at Home have used RPM technology as a pilot program, all reporting positive results.

Introduced in 2003, the Veterans Health Administration’s Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT) program has boasted successful outcomes including patient satisfaction and reductions in hospital readmissions.

Through the end of 2010, CCHT’s telehealth services reported patient satisfaction levels greater than 85%, and reductions in bed days of care exceeded 40% among patients receiving the care technology.

The program also noted a reduction in hospital days of stay for its patients between 2004 to 2007 is significant across eight primary conditions for patients monitored for either single or multiple diagnoses, ranging from 20.4% decrease among diabetes patients to a 56% decrease among individuals with depression.

Partners HealthCare’s Connected Cardia Care Program (CCCP)—which provides tele monitoring and education for heart patients—showed a 50% reduction in heart failure-related readmission rates among enrolled patients, the study writes.

Additionally, the program’s non-heart failure readmissions also declined by a similar margin, at 44%.

With its home telehealth programs driven largely in part by the Center for Connected Health, Partners’ reports a cost savings of more than $10 million since 2006 for its more than 1,200 enrolled patients.

Centura Health at Home (CHAH) expands the reach of its tech-based home care services through the integration of a clinical call center and remote monitoring telehealth program.

During a one year pilot from 2010-2011, CHAH’s integrated services reduced 30-day readmission rates across three targeted conditions by 62%. Emergency department use saw a drastic reduction from 283 visits to 21 visits after one year, the study writes, leading to a cost savings between $1,000 and $1,500 of total costs per patient.

While the use of tech-driven home health services promote patient well-being and cost-effectiveness, success did not come without valuable lessons among these early adopters.

These lessons include promoting a culture of openness and preparedness to use tech-based services; minimizing barriers to patient enrollment; and measuring patient experience and staff satisfaction in program evaluations.

Written by Jason Oliva

 

Jason Oliva