Telehealth significantly reduces hospital visits and deaths, but may not save money
A new study analyzing the benefits of “telehealth” was released by Nuffield Trust, a health committee in the UK. It found that telehealth can help patients with long-term conditions avoid the emergency room and reduce the number of deaths. Telehealth uses technology to help people with health problems live more independently. This may involve providing a patient with equipment to monitor their condition at home, with the results sent to a doctor electronically. The percentage of patients monitored using telehealth technologies that were admitted to the hospital was 5 percent less than the control group during the study period, 43 percent compared to 48 percent. Furthermore, 4.6 percent of telehealth patients died, compared to 8.3 percent of controls. While these number are statistically significant, telehealth was not shown to significantly reduce costs of healthcare, and the modest savings may not be enough to offset the cost of the technology.