Yesterday, I talked about a telehealth case study from FirstHealth Home Care published in The Remington Report, valuable both for an excellent synopsis of the issues facing the medically complex senior and the problems traditional health care faces in supporting them.
I want to follow up with two other elements from that case study. The first reinforces the problems of traditional health care. The second provides some statistics from the case study, pointing to the difference telehealth can make.
On the first point, the case study reports,
After a lengthy review of existing research on care coordination and care transitions, we discovered a perfect opportunity for home health [and, I would argue, non-clinical home care and Geriatric Care Managers] to help fill that care gap particularly between the acute and post acute care setting. The problem was that none of the literature or research included home health [or non-clinical home care] as a key partner, and new models of care were being created to manage care transitions that excluded home health [and non-clinical home care and Geriatric Care Management].
The group working on the issue began developing a new model to address this gap. To me, the critical point is the reference to “new models of care” really points out that they were not so new. Old players in the health care world were simply being rearranged, rather than thinking out of the box about new partners that need to be at the care delivery table.
On telehealth statistics – also reflecting a greater emphasis on home health care – the case study does point out some successes, comparing 2011 and 2012 results:
- 6% decrease in hospitalization rates for all patients
- 25% decrease in hospitalization rates for telehealth patients
- 17% decrease in hospitalization rates for heart failure patients
- 17% decrease in skilled nursing visits per non-lupa episode
- 14% increase in Medicare admissions by the agency
- 20% improvement in quality of life measures
- 90% overall patient satisfaction
There is still a long way to go on both paths – building new models of care that look beyond the tradition clinical view and introducing strong telehealth metrics and tools. Nevertheless, the serious journey has begun.
Best wishes. Bert