Telehealth Support for Those with Chronic Conditions Found Costly
March 29, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
The use of telehealth interventions in addition to standard support and treatment did not improve the outcomes of patients with long-term conditions any more significantly than the use of standard support and treatment alone, concludes a study published online March 22, 2013, in BMJ. The study included 1,573 patients with a long-term condition, such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or diabetes, who were divided into two groups that received either the usual care or the usual care plus a telehealth intervention. The telehealth systems used in the intervention group included both telemonitoring and telephone support. Participants were provided with telemonitoring equipment, which included a base unit (freestanding or a television set top box) and peripherals such as weight scales, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and glucometers, to collect and transmit vital signs data. This data was classified into risk-related alerts according to parameters set initially on the basis of clinical guidelines and later reset by a clinician as required.