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Long-term effect of home telehealth services on preventable hospitalization use.

Jia H, Chuang HC, Wu SS, Wang X, Chumbler NR. Long-term effect of home telehealth services on preventable hospitalization use. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2009 Jan 1; 46(5):557-66.

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In this study, we assessed the longitudinal effect of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patient-centered Care Coordination Home Telehealth (CCHT) program on preventable hospitalization use by veterans with diabetes mellitus (DM) at four VA medical centers. We used a matched treatment-control design (n = 387 for both groups). All patients were followed for 4 years. We operationalized ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ACSCs) by applying Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality criteria to VA inpatient databases to determine preventable hospitalization use. We used a generalized linear mixed model to estimate the adjusted effect of the CCHT program on preventable hospitalization use over time. During the initial 18 months of follow-up, CCHT enrollees were less likely to be admitted for a preventable hospitalization than their nonenrollee counterparts, and this difference diminished during the rest of the 4-year follow-up period. The VA CCHT program for DM patients reduced preventable hospitalizations. These findings are some of the first that have systematically examined the extent to which home telehealth programs have a long-term effect on preventable hospitalization use.

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