Telemanagement helps trim readmissions from facilities

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Lead researcher Menon: System makes the process more efficient.
Lead researcher Menon: System makes the process more efficient.

Heart failure patients whose conditions are monitored using a telemanagement system may be less likely to be readmitted to the hospital from a post-acute care facility, according to the results of a recent study.

Heart failure drives nearly one million hospital admissions each year in the United States, with one-quarter of those patients ending up back in the hospital within 30 days. Researchers with The Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati set out to determine whether managing those patients' conditions via telehealth could help reduce readmissions.

The study provided skilled nursing residents with heart failure telemanagement by clinicians specializing in the condition while they were in the facility. Residents wore sensors that continuously captured health information, which was made accessible to the clinicians through a secure cloud database. Point-of-care devices also were available for skilled nursing residents.

Patients also could continue the program upon discharge to their homes, with the help of home healthcare nurses. The median age of patients in the study was 81.

Study results showed that patients who received the telemanagement program had a 29% lower rehospitalization rate than a historical control group that received standard skilled nursing care, despite the typical high rehospitalization risk among heart failure patients. Those findings are clinically significant among older patients with advanced heart failure symptoms, researchers said.

Using the telemanagement system “enhanced communication content and timeliness across the post-acute care continuum,” wrote lead researcher Santosh Menon, M.D. Patients in the post-acute telemanagement program also reported high levels of satisfaction and self-care knowledge.

Results were published online in September in Telemedicine and e-Health