The benefits of telemedicine have been widely advertised, as it can provide a number of healthcare improvements that can save money and improve quality of life for many users. New studies are finding even more information backing up the technology's importance.
Hospitalization rates drop twice as much
According to iHealth Beat, a recent study found that telemedicine used in nursing homes, especially concerning after-hours care, can drastically reduce the rate of hospitalization for many patients. This could have the effect of saving Medicare hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
The study looked at 11 different nursing homes in Massachusetts over a two-year span, and six of them adopted telemedicine in that time. In the areas that added the technology, hospitalization rates dropped by nearly 10 percent, compared to a decline of 5.3 percent at homes that didn't use the service.
Each nursing home in the study was expected to see about $150,000 in savings every year if every facility used telemedicine services. Even considering the $30,000 adoption costs, that still represents more than $120,000 in savings.
Could save even more statewide
Florida Tax Watch found that the improvements that telemedicine can provide go much further than just nursing homes. Statewide expansion of telemedicine to various hospitals and doctors' offices could save the state of Florida more than $1 billion every year. Those savings could likely be transferred to the entire United States.
"The opportunity costs of not investing in telemedicine are too high for the state of Florida and its taxpayers," said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "Florida needs to expand telemedicine to not only improve health care outcomes, but to provide care at a lower cost to Floridians."
In addition to reducing hospitalization rates and improving the quality of care, telemedicine was also noted to provide heavy improvements in economic development. This ranged from job creation in telecommunications to extending career-life for aging healthcare practitioners.
It's expected that telemedicine adoption will sharply rise in the near future as a result of these findings. The technology itself can sometimes be inexpensive to implement, such as purchasing a tablet computer, and they can result in drastic improvements.
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