Telehealth Home Health Progress; Promising in New York
A three month study on telehealth services conducted by WILLCARE in Chautauqua County in New York State was completed earlier this years as part of the New York State Department of Health’s Telemedicine Demonstration Program. The project studied the effectiveness of using telehealth to monitor the vital signs of individuals living at home who have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to the fall 2013 “Rural Futures” publication published by the NYS Legislation Commission on Rural Resources, the Telemedicine Demonstration, showed that participants experienced significant improvements in their health status and their functional capabilities with home visits.
The study found that the number of hospital visits were reduced for patients in the study by more than a third plus the length of hospital stays were also reduced. The patients reported feeling comfortable using the monitoring equipment as many of them said that they gained peace of mind and an increased feeling of security.
The New York City Department for Aging on September 2013 released their Annual Plan Summary for April 2014-2015. The Summary discusses the needs of the elderly in the state and how technological advances can continue to improve the quality-of-life for older adults.
The report points out how effectively remote diagnoses and continuous health monitoring can deliver high quality medical services via computerized home health care systems. The telehealth technology is able to store patient records, monitor health, and connect patients and doctors via video.
Another report, “Home Health Care in Vermont” presented to the Green Mountain Care Board by the Vermont Assembly of Home Health & Hospice Agencies Inc. (VAHHA) on October 3, 2013 by the Director Peter Cobb reports on home health care in the state.
The report points out that in Vermont more than 22,000 Vermonters receive nearly one million visits in the home each year from certified agencies and account for about two percent of the total health spending in the state. On any given day, more patients are served by Vermont’s home care agencies than there are in-patients in the state’s 14 hospitals. The fact is that one out of every 28 Vermonters receive home care and this is one of the highest service penetration rates in the nation.
The report also found that telemonitoring is particularly helpful for patients with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease especially if the condition of the patient is rapidly changing.
By reviewing the data generated via telemonitoring, nurses are able to identify those patients who need the most help and are able to help patients with serious heart problems learn how to live and self-manage.
It was found that since the Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice Agency started using telehealth monitors, the re-hospitalization rate has dropped from 29 percent to 15 percent which is among the lowest rates in the country. There are also similar results from other Vermont agencies.
Go to www.nysenate.gov/files/pdfs/Rural%20Futures%20Fall%202013.pdf to view the 2013 Rural Futures fall newslette