Telehealth Pilot Program Reduces Costs and Hospitalizations

The implementation of telehealth reduced costs, hospitalizations, and hospital stays in a pilot program for patients with multiple chronic conditions.

Royal Philips and Arizona-based Banner Health announced successful results of their at-home telehealth pilot program. The program is part of the companies’ effort to address the shift toward value-based care and increased penalties for readmissions.

The pilot program, Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC), part of the overall telehealth program at Banner, focuses on the most complex and highest cost patients. This includes the top five percent of patients, which account for 50 percent of health care spend. First launched in 2013, the IAC program aims to improve patient outcomes, care team efficiency, and prevent IAC patients from entering the acute care environment – where costs are significantly higher.

The program, conducted by the 23-hospital system, assessed the care of 135 patients to determine the program’s effectiveness in meeting its clinical and financial goals. The company announced results of each patient’s first six months.

According to the results, the program reduced costs of care by 27 percent. This was driven mainly due to a reduction in hospitalization rates and days in the hospital. Additionally, the cost reduction was associated with a reduction in professional service and outpatient costs. They found that the program reduced acute and long term care costs by 32 percent. According to the companies, this cost reduction was primarily because of the significant decrease in hospitalizations.

Before enrollment in the IAC program, there were 11.5 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month. After enrollment, the acute and long-term hospitalization rate dropped to 6.3 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month, representing a 45 percent reduction in hospitalizations. The average number of days in the hospital per 100 patients per month were also reduced, with an average of 90.2 days before the program down to 65.8 after the program.

“The results of our at-home telehealth pilot with Philips have been dramatic and are indicative of the exponential success such a program could have by engaging patients in their own care and building a strong support system around them,” said Dr. Hargobind Khurana, senior medical director of Health Management, Banner. “As we continue to expand this program, we anticipate seeing further proof that telehealth programs can address readmissions rates, reduce costs, and improve the health and quality of life for patients with multiple chronic diseases.”

According to Banner, by providing patients with near-instant access to caregivers, including social workers, pharmacists, and health coaches, it has delivered patient-centered care and improved patient satisfaction.

“Telehealth is opening up choices for patients and providers, giving them the freedom to transform how, when and where proactive care is delivered to patients,” said Derek Smith, senior vice president, Hospital to Home, Philips. “By focusing on those patients who generate the greatest health care spend, we’re able to help these individuals get better care in the comfort of their own homes, while also helping health systems achieve the financial reductions they need.”

Source: Royal Philips

Last updated: 5/5/15; 7:45pm EST

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