SNFs look to telemedicine for improved care, Medicare cost cuts

An after-hours telemedicine platform helped a Brooklyn-based skilled nursing facility eliminate almost 100 hospitalizations and save roughly $1.5 million in Medicare costs in one year, according to mHealth Intelligence.

Those outcomes are included in a case study published in the August edition of the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC). Using that as a benchmark, the case study’s authors say a connected care platform could save the nation $1.5 million per year.

“As nursing facilities are called upon to care for higher-acuity patients and drive better clinical outcomes at a fraction of the cost of a hospitalization, systems that deliver quality physicians to the bedside at times of change of condition will be required,” they note. “This study found that use of a dedicated, virtual, after-hours physician coverage service in an SNF demonstrated a significant reduction in Medicare costs (acute inpatient hospital, subacute care, and transfer costs).”

“These efforts present an opportunity to improve both clinical outcomes for older adults in need of long-term and post-acute services and financial outcomes for those providing the care,” the authors conclude.

The authors – David Chess, MD, the founder, president and chief medical officer of Connecticut-based Tapestry Telehealth; John J. Whitman, MBA of the TRECS (Targeting Revolutionary Elder Care Solutions) Institute; Diane Croll, DNP, of Long Island-based TripleCare; and Richard Stefanacci, DO, of the Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University – focused their study on the 365-bed Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which uses the TripleCare telehealth platform. From March 2015 to March 2016, the SNF used the technology to treat 313 patients.

Of that group, 259 patients (83 percent) were treated via telemedicine at Cobble Hill, while 54 were transported to a hospital. According to Cobble Hill’s medical director, Dr. Himanshu Pandya, 91 of the 259 patients treated at Cobble Hill would have required hospitalization had the facility not had access to telemedicine.

Read the full story at mHealth Intelligence.

Topics: Technology Trends , Uncategorized