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When it comes to telehealth, the numbers don't lie

May 13, 2010 - 0 Comments

To top off the healthcare crisis, issues around access to health insurance and an aging population, we are also facing an ever-increasing shortage of doctors and other medical professionals in our country. In fact, it’s expected that America’s healthcare system will have a shortage of approximately 200,000 doctors by 2020.

Understandably, many are turning to technology to help fix this problem. According to a recent report from WSLS-TV, a local NBC affiliate out of Roanoke, Va., doctors at UVA Medical Center and other medical facilities around the state have turned to telemedicine to help fill the gap.

By utilizing video teleconferencing (VTC) and TelePresence solutions, doctors in Charlottesville see, diagnose and provide care for patients hundreds of mile away who may not have the specialists and physicians they need in their immediate area. This is especially useful for patients with chronic conditions who require frequent appointments for monitoring and care.

Cost savings to the American healthcare system overall are significant as well. According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News, the Veterans Hospital System’s Care Coordination / Home Telehealth Program (CCHT) for veterans with chronic conditions has resulted in a 19% reduction in hospital admissions and a 25% reduction in bed days for admitted veterans. The cost per patient for the CCHT program ($1,600 per year) is also substantially lower than home-based primary care services ($13,121 per year) and nursing home care rates ($77,745 per year).

A University of Virginia School of Medicine study comparing monitored vs. non-monitored elders in a senior living facility also found a 36% reduction in billable medical procedures, a 78% reduction in hospital days, a 68% reduction in the cost of care and a 50% increase in caregiver efficiency for the patients being monitored via telehealth solutions.

VTC is breaking down walls between patients and caregivers, increasing access to care and working to decrease the cost of healthcare. Now’s the time to embrace VTC as a new way of caring. America’s healthcare system can’t afford not to.

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