According to a recent Cochrane Review, telemonitoring is beneficial to heart failure patients. (I got the heads up from iHealthBeat. The Cochrane Review appears to be a scientific/medical journal, “established to ensure that up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare interventions is readily available worldwide”.)
The study in question reviewed 9,500 patients. It compared heart failure management through the use of structured telephone support or telemonitoring with usual post-discharge care. According to iHealthBeat…
The study found that:
- In the telephone group, 164 patients per 1,000 required hospitalization, compared with 213 per 1,000 in the control group;
- In the telemonitoring group, 225 patients per 1,000 required hospitalization, compared with 284 per 1,000 in the control group; and
- In the telemonitoring group, 102 patients per 1,000 died, compared with 154 per 1,000 in the control group.
Obviously that’s great new all around, or at least you’d think so – but I saw a discouraging comment in MedPage about the study…
Despite cost-effectiveness on the larger scale, “there is not always financial incentive or additional payment to physicians or physician groups or hospitals around providing this extra level of care and monitoring,” he [Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles and an American Heart Association spokesperson] said in an interview with MedPage Today.
A week or two ago I wrote a post on “meaningful use” incentive being used to encourage health care providers to e-prescribe. In short, health care providers are able to earn money by using technology with purpose. I attended a workshop to learn more about meaningful use – but I must admit I don’t feel much smarter having attended the workshop (one reason I didn’t write about it earlier) but I’d hope that it could be used to encourage telemonitoring as well as e-prescriptions, especially given the results seen in this recent review.