Rise in Remote Monitoring Means No Patient Left Behind

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Half of respondents engaged in telehealth remotely monitor health conditions of certain patients, especially those with heart failure, according to a new study on telehealth and telemedicine by the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

Nearly 84 percent of respondents who monitor patients remotely are focused on patients with heart failure. The HIN September 2009 Telehealth Benchmarks e-survey examined the application of telehealth for clinical and non-clinical purposes, the prevalence of remote monitoring, the medical conditions most often targeted by remote monitoring and the impact of telehealth on healthcare access, efficiency, cost and outcomes.

“With rising healthcare costs fueling much of the debate surrounding healthcare reform, many healthcare organizations are turning to telehealth and telemedicine to lower costs and improve efficiencies while expanding patients’ access to services — particularly in rural areas,” noted Melanie Matthews, HIN executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The survey results offer a glimpse into a healthcare future where no patient is left behind because of a lack of access.”

2009 Telehealth Benchmarks: Wired for Access and Efficiency, a complimentary executive summary of responses from 139 healthcare organizations, captures trends and metrics in the use of telehealth and telemedicine and identifies emerging applications of these technologies.

Remote monitoring of heart failure patients by Henry Ford Health System has been credited with reducing hospital admissions in this population. A September 2009 study found that the health system reduced expected all-cause hospital admissions for enrollees by 36 percent after six months of enrollment and a return of 2.3:1 vs. program costs.

Dr. Randall Williams, CEO of Pharos Innovations, the developer of the Tel-Assurance® remote patient monitoring platform used in Henry Ford’s medical home pilot, says the daily engagement of Medicaid beneficiaries in self-care health monitoring programs can help healthcare organizations avoid many of the challenges of working with an underserved population. Click here to listen to Dr. Williams describe participants’ receptivity to the daily contact once they are identified, which has resulted in extremely high program engagement rates.

Dr. Williams referred to the AHRQ report, “Barriers and Drivers of Health Information Technology Use for the Elderly, Chronically Ill and Underserved,” which concludes that from a consumer’s perspective, programs and technologies that support disease management programs need to have a perception of benefit to the individual who will be using them. Also, they have to be perceived as convenient and as something that can be easily integrated into the daily activities of that individual patient or member.

The Healthcare Intelligence Network conducts monthly e-surveys on topics of interest to the healthcare industry. To review results from recent surveys, please click here. HIN survey results are indicated by the red and blue “HIN” logo.

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