Telemedicine Helps Reduce Rehospitalization
Imagine the nurse at your skilled nursing facility (SNF) consulting with a doctor or specialist located anywhere in the world on behalf of a patient. The doctor would have the capability to perform remote examinations, using their laptop and an audio/video device with peripherals at the SNF, to look in the patient's ears, listen to the heart or a wound camera look at an infection. Telemedicine is going to change the delivery of care at SNFs by ensuring the patient is quickly assessed, diagnosed and treated onsite in a timely manner with any need to transport them.
Under the old system of care, when an elderly resident at a SNF develops a medical issue the nursing staff will get the on-call physician on the phone to describe the patient's symptoms. After a quick conversation the physician will most likely decide to transport the resident to the local emergency room. By having a telemedicine solution at the SNF the offsite physician would have better access to the information necessary to quickly diagnose the patient. The physician is then able to determine what, if any, treatment is needed or whether a trip to the emergency room is really necessary.
An estimated 40% of nursing facility residents are admitted to the hospital in a typical year, and one-quarter of these may be preventable.1 MedPAC analysis shows that nearly 14% of Medicare patients that are discharged from a hospital to a SNF are readmitted to the hospital for conditions that could have been avoided.2 One of telemedicine's most promising benefit to the SNF is the reduction of resident readmissions into the hospital because in a few years Medicaid plans to reduce payment to SNF's with high rates of hospital readmissions by as much as 3%.
ProConnections, Inc. has launched an affordable telemedicine solution in response to the anticipated needs of the Long-Term Care (LTC) industry as the government begins the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The ProMCS-2000 can help physicians at SNFs address the ongoing problem of 'treat or transpor' and improve patient care while decreasing revenue loss from empty beds. To learn more about this telemedicine solution, visit Long-Term Care, fill out the "Value of Reducing Rehospitalization" quick calculator and receive a free report specific to your facility.
1 Long-term Living Magazine, The promise and practice of telemedicine in long-term care, Feb. 13, 2012
2 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Aligning Incentives in Medicare, Report to Congress, March 2011