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Outcomes associated with a home care telehealth intervention.

Hopp F, Woodbridge P, Subramanian U, Copeland L, Smith D, Lowery J. Outcomes associated with a home care telehealth intervention. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2006 Jun 1; 12(3):297-307.

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To determine whether adding telehealth technology to traditional home care services increases health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and home care satisfaction, and decreases resource utilization among home care patients. This trial included 37 home care patients receiving services in a Veterans Affairs medical center, randomized into intervention and control groups. Outcome measures included patient satisfaction and HRQOL at baseline and 6-month follow- up, and the use of inpatient and outpatient services before and during the 6-month study period. Intervention group patients reported greater improvement in the mental health component of HRQOL, (t = 2.27; df = 15; p = 0.04). Satisfaction with the telehealth equipment was high (means exceeded 4.0 on six measures ranging from 1-5). However, no statistically significant differences were observed between intervention and control groups in terms of changes in physical health, inpatient admissions, bed days of care, emergency department visits, or general satisfaction with home care services. Intervention group members did show a trend (p = 0.10) toward fewer overall outpatient visits (mean = 29.1; standard deviation [SD] +/- 30.1) compared to those receiving traditional home care services (mean = 38.9; SD +/- 28.9) The use of telehealth services as an adjunct to traditional home care is associated with greater improvements in mental health status and a trend toward lower use of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services. Further work, utilizing larger sample sizes, is needed to investigate the relationship between telehealth services, the use of healthcare resources, and other outcomes.

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