Healthcare News & Insights

Report highlights 3 successful telehealth programs

Many hospitals are using telehealth programs to expand their reach and improve the quality of care. 

In fact, several large pilot telehealth programs have already been effective in reducing healthcare costs and readmissions rates, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund.

For the report, researchers looked at three healthcare organizations that adopted a remote patient monitoring system: The Veterans Health Administration, Partners HealthCare and Centura Health at Home.

The goal for each of those organizations was to reduce rehospitalization rates for Medicare patients. Providers kept an eye on patients’ health status, and intervened when needed. In some cases, patients had access to a 24-hour call center to assist them with any health-related inquiries.

The results:

  • The Veterans Health Administration’s program led to a 40% reduction in overnight stays for patients compared to before the program was started. There has also been a significant decrease in hospital utilization for eight major conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure. In addition, 85% of patients said they were satisfied using the telemedicine system.
  • Since Partners HealthCare started using telemedicine, over 1,200 patients have participated in the program, and there’s been a 51% reduction in heart failure readmission rates for enrolled patients. In addition, readmissions that weren’t related to heart failure decreased by 44%. The provider estimates it’s saved over $10 million so far.
  • The initial goal of Centura Health’s project was to reduce readmission rates for these conditions by 2%. It far exceeded that goal – readmissions rates were reduced by 62%. Additionally, the total number of emergency department visits for participants went from 283 to 21.

Keys for telehealth success

Some of the factors those successful telehealth programs had in common included:

  • Patients were held accountable for maintaining their health, and the organizations provided them with real-time feedback on how their lifestyle choices affected their conditions.
  • The organizations enrolled participants in the programs before they left the hospital — that made it clear that telemedicine was a part of the person’s on-going care.
  • Doctors talked to patients about the program, which helped make them more engaged in their own care.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.