Telemonitoring costs disappoint

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Once touted as a viable, emerging cost-effective care option, telemedicine may not be the savior some forecast it to be, Mayo Clinic and Purdue University researchers concluded recently.

After examining the outcomes of 205 older adults with multiple chronic conditions who used conventional in-office and telemonitoring services, researchers concluded there were very little significant savings with telemonitoring. The results were published in the January issue of Telemedicine and eHealth.

The conventional group was able to access physician offices, home healthcare services and phone consultation while the telemedicine group transmitted data from vital sign devices and other kinds of devices to monitor things such as weight, glucose and blood pressure to clinicians.

The study found no significant differences in the mean inpatient and ED visits, and in hospital days between patients in the two groups. Researcher said current telemonitoring technology holds promise to predict hospital stay lengths but added that more research is needed.

Reporters for the online FierceHealth reported that while there have been limited savings with home blood pressure monitoring technology, other recent studies echo the most recent unsatisfying news. For example, a 2013 British government concluded that telehealth methods did not improve the quality of life and were not cost effective among people with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes. In 2007, however, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found positive news for home telemonitoring services, concluding they were efficacious for keeping tabs on chronic diseases because they are able to produce accurate and reliable data.