Can Telemedicine Improve Patient Care and Reduce Hospital Readmissions?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Where technologies such as videoconferencing for remote diagnostics are deployed, adopters report impressive gains in the care of remote and rural patients, as well as a decrease in health complications, according to responses to the Healthcare Intelligence Network’s Telehealth in 2013 survey.

Take, for example, the numerous initiatives in the area of remote monitoring, the top clinical telehealth application reported by this year’s respondents. Fifty-seven percent monitor patients or members remotely; fully 100 percent of those employing this technology track vital signs and weight in monitored individuals, two critical red flags in treatment of individuals with chronic illness.

Active users of telehealth and telemedicine also experience fewer hospitalizations, hospital readmissions, emergency room visits and bed days, respondents reported.

Researchers at UC Davis Children’s Hospital recently found that telemedicine consultations with pediatric critical-care medicine physicians significantly improved the quality of care for seriously ill and injured children treated in remote rural ERs, where pediatricians and pediatric specialists are scarce.

The study also found that rural ER physicians are more likely to adjust their pediatric patients’ diagnoses and course of treatment after a live, interactive videoconference with a specialist. Parents’ satisfaction and perception of the quality of their child’s care also are significantly improved when consultations are provided using telemedicine, rather than telephone, and aid ER treatment, the study found.

Excerpted from 2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Telemedicine.

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