Role of Telehealth In Chronic Care

Every individual involved in Healthcare has now realized the importance of remote patient monitoring which is also known as Telehealth. With Telehealth technology hospitals can improve the outcome, ease out access to care, and reduce time and cost.

In Healthcare, care management is one of the critical components of primary care that contributes to better health. As CMS recognizes the significance of remote patient monitoring as an effective way to improve health by avoiding readmission rate, it started to pay providers for their non- face-to-face consultation service after discharge for chronic care patients.

Treating a chronic disease is considered to be the most expensive treatment. One such chronic disease is heart disease and its treatment falls under the costliest one. Every year millions of people face congestive heart failure. In 2014, there were 46.2 million geriatrics in the US and by 2020 it is expected to grow to 98 million which is so huge.

People with the chronic disease have the higher tendency for re-hospitalization. And this problem prevails in America for quite a long period. Providers are paid for treating more than two chronic diseases under CPT code 99490 by Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). To reduce this revisits CMS will penalize those hospitals with high readmission rates.

This is a major concern for hospitals typically which has a large population of low-income patients. They try to focus on reducing unnecessary readmission in order to remain competitive financially and also improve the health outcome. The solution to this problem is monitoring and reviewing for a post-discharge period – 30 days.

Telehealth can act as an early warning system, collect data such as vital, blood pressure levels, heart rate, weight, blood sugar level and blood oxygen level. A heart failure patient who experiences the slight change in blood pressure levels and increases in weight over time is more likely to experience negative medical outcomes. It is understandable that by monitoring these changes in patient’s health can help avoiding emergency room visits.

With Patient- Generated Health Data and Remote Monitoring Technology, a patient’s health will be observed all day long and any changes in health condition will be immediately reported to the clinical call center and interventions will be instantly done which will reducing readmission constantly.

Telehealth Features

Remote Patient Monitoring
Store and forward data, images or video
Mobile Health(mHealth) applications

The advantage of Telehealth Technology

1. Self-Care Management

Promoting Health education to involve the patient in their own health management is the primary motive of Telehealth. This program is to help patients to have a better understanding of their own health, why and what medication they need to take, educates about the possible risk conditions and how to overcome it.

2. Increased Access to Care

With less in the number of physicians’ providers face more difficulty in appointment scheduling with physicians, providing care at right time and assigning, and monitoring care coordinators. Telehealth helps clinical staffs to remotely monitor chronic patient’s health condition using digital technology.

3. Saves Time and Cost

Remote monitoring will help to find the changes in health behavior and intimates about the adverse effect. Clinicians have to act when there is an emergency which will reduce the avoidable treatment cost. Telehealth facility has decreased patient wait time and has increased treatment time.

4. Telehealth for Rural Communities

With telehealth facility, rural hospitals are able to provide quality care at low costs. Chronic patients under these areas are more benefited from this service. Patients can get e-consultation and opinion from the specialist without the necessity to visit them in person.

Patients get benefited from,

a. Telepharmacy
Patients can get their access to medications and medication counseling at their community pharmacies.

b. Mobile monitoring devices
With monitoring devices, providers can track their patient vital signs and can get connected via smartphones to communicate with patients for care improvement.

However, Telehealth has opened a path for new developments in technology. Applications like heart rate recorder, body temperature finder and so on help better monitoring of patient’s health. With this advancement in technology, it is possible to bring better changes in lives.

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