Can e-Health Improve the Quality of Health and Reduce Readmission?
The big hospital is planning for the future wave of baby boomers and investing more in telehealth or e-health. The hope is that it could reduce readmissions and those high-risk members can see their doctors at home instead of sitting in the ER for hours to be seen. How is this possible? its modern technology making things possible more than ever. For instance, I recently had an opportunity to schedule an on the phone appointment with my doctor which initially I was a little hesitant but I’m hooked. After 15 minutes on the phone with my doctor in the comfort of my home, she was able to diagnose and sent me on my way with a prescription. In addition, I was able to save $20 co-pay, driving to the doctors’ office, parking, traffic and possible getting exposed to other sick people while at the doctors’ office. Of course, some doctors visit such as your annual check-up is still necessary for you to visit your doctors’ office.
A new study published in the American Journal of Managed Care and conducted by Aetrna and AbilTO, a telehealth provider has shown a positive impact from behavioral telehealth management programs on cardiac patients’ care, reduced the number of admission and readmission and lower cost. Furthermore, the research found patients who went through the program scored lower for depression, anxiety and stress than the test group who did not do the program. In the 6 month period, patients who participated had 38% fewer hospital admissions and 31% fewer readmissions. That’s huge savings for hospitals, medicare and the best of all the best quality care for patients. In addition, the research found that the savings from the program offset its cost within Months.
So know what? Why are hospitals not jumping on telehealth? The good news is that some hospitals are jumping at the opportunity, especially because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS) recently began covering some telehealth services for patients with chronic conditions and are a higher risk for readmission. This gives a huge incentive to consider utilizing more telehealth services for its members.
As research has shown telehealth huge benefit for hospital systems but ultimately it will be up to the hospital and their administrator but the future is coming, and this would be an opportunity that they may not want to miss to move closer to patient-centered care.