Healthcare Business Week in Review: Telehealth and Telemedicine, Care Transitions, ACOs

Friday, August 23rd, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Our recently completed study of telehealth and telemedicine identified an uptick in the last three years in videoconferencing for clinical uses like real-time remote diagnostics.

New data from UC Davis Children’s Hospital bears this out: researchers there found that telemedicine consultations with pediatric critical-care physicians significantly improve the quality of care for seriously ill and injured children treated in remote rural EDs. Overall, researchers found that cases involving a telemedicine consultation received significantly higher quality-of-care scores than did those involving a telephone consultation or no consultation.

More ideas to replicate come from a report by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA). At the end of a five-year initiative involving more than 160 Florida hospitals, readmissions dropped 15 percent, surgical complications were reduced by 14.5 percent and millions of dollars in costs were saved.

The hospitals’ hands-on work focused on improvements to hospital culture, care transitions and communication, the FHA said.

A communications gap of sorts has been identified by Athena Health. Its fourth annual Physician Sentiment Index™ (PSI) exposed a general sense of unfamiliarity with the accountable care model among three-quarters of physicians; even more unsettling is the finding that one-quarter of doctors said they “don’t know” if they participate in a pay-for-performance program.

With more than 400 public and private ACOs under construction, a great way to get up to speed on ACO trends is to take our third annual Accountable Care Organizations survey and receive an executive summary of the results.

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