Like every other industry, the healthcare industry is facing stiff competition. The increasing pressure to innovate has forced healthcare organizations to find more cost-effective delivery models using technology. A major component of this innovation is uprooting geographical and logistical hurdles to seamlessly connect patients with providers via Connected Health (cHealth), including telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), and Mobile Health (mHealth).
Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ annual survey of physicians and health care consumers predicts that adopting telehealth will improve outcomes for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients in the next five years. Studies suggest that telehealth visits are significantly cheaper than traditional in-person visits and could save significantly on Medicare bills.
Deloitte suggests that a health system under global capitation model tending for 150 CHF patients and adopting a telehealth initiative could save between $80,000 to $147,000 per patient annually. For a 100% adoption rate for all 5.1 million CHF patients in the country, such an initiative could save a staggering $5.4 billion to $9.9 billion every year.
Another mode of cHealth is RPM that collects patient data at one location and transmits it electronically to a health system in another location. RPM can greatly help doctors monitor their patient’s health and reinforce adherence to treatment plans. The survey conservatively projects 35 percent reduction in hospital visits and 50 percent decrease in ER visits of patients with CHF over the next 5 years provided RPM is adopted. The report estimates an annual savings of $1,054 to $1,950 per patient. Again, applied across the national population, this could amount to another $5.4 to $9.9 billion in annual savings.
Note that these projected savings are just for one common chronic health condition. Other cardiac conditions, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) account for thousands of hospitalizations and emergency department visits every year. These are also ripe targets for savings from telehealth and RPM.
cHealth allows for remote communication, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients using integrated online platforms. Overall, a properly planned cHealth strategy for patients with CHF and other chronic conditions could create enormous savings.