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Telehealth Improves Access to Health, says VA Study

By Stephen Tweed

One of the areas of technology that I talk about in my future trends presentations is telehealth. Many of our home health agency client around the country are getting measurable results from their telehealth programs. The biggest outcomes improvements are in the areas of reduced acute care hospitalization and unplanned urgent care for CHF and COPD patients. Today, I received a news release about a study conducted by the Veterans Administration showing the reults of their telehealth program.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 — Veterans with chronic conditions can manage their health and avoid hospitalization by using special technology provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in their homes, according to a recent study.

“The study showed that home telehealth makes health care more effective because it improves patients’ access to care and is easy to use,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “A real plus is that this approach to care can be sustained because it’s so cost-effective and more veteran-centric. Patients in rural areas are increasingly finding that telehealth improves their access to health care and promotes their ongoing relationship with our health care system.”

The study found a 25 percent reduction in the average number of days hospitalized and a 19 percent reduction in hospitalizations for patients using home telehealth. A’s home telehealth program cares for 35,000 patients and is the largest of its kind in the world. The study looked at health outcomes from 17,025 VA home telehealth patients.

Are you using telehealth in your home health agency? Tell us about your results in the comments section below

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