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Telehealth Proven to Lower Hospital Readmission

Telehealth includes the provision of healthcare services through the use of telecommunications technology including email, internet, telephone and other channels. It is increasingly gaining popularity among care providers as a way to improve healthcare management and enhance patient outcomes. Telemedicine possess immense potential to alter the healthcare environment for facilities providing healthcare. Several telehealth programs have proven been effective in reducing healthcare expenses and lowering the rate of readmissions.

According to a study published in the June 1, 2011 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), telehealth efforts are associated with lower mortality rates and shorter hospital stays for intensive care patients. Healthcare professionals who remotely monitored patients in intensive care units observed that hospital mortality rates dropped from 13.6% to 11.8% and the duration of hospital stay dropped from 13.3 days to 9.8 days as a result of telehealth initiatives.

To ensure the success of telehealth initiatives in boosting patient outcomes and decreasing readmissions, physicians should establish a relationship with patients face-to-face prior to engaging them remotely which would create a sense of trust and assist the patient to comprehend the necessity to interact from home. Hospital executives should ensure that physicians are aligned with the aim of reducing readmissions and enhancing patient care. Healthcare providers should determine which technology is best suited for their patients and figure out the ways in which it will integrate with other technologies (for instance, electronic health records). They should also evaluate the costs to purchase, implement the technology and assess the ROI. Physicians should use the technology to recognize “red flags” or prospective complications for patients which they can then follow-up to ensure that the issues are being managed properly. Lastly, providers should chart collected data to figure out whether telehealth has contributed in controlling costs, deflecting negative trends and enhancing patient health outcomes.


Physician using telehealth for a consultation