Telestroke proves itself a money saver

The savings, researchers say, are attributed to reduced resource utilization.

Mayo Clinic

January 17, 2014

Telemedicine programs may help extend higher quality care to patients living in more rural areas, but the cost to implement and maintain the technology and services is also a serious consideration. So seeing financial savings, then, from telehealth patient treatment is important to help offset those expenses. According to a new study by Mayo Clinic researchers, a telestroke program may just have done that.

Stroke patients living in rural areas who receive care via a telestroke network see, on average, nearly $1,500 in lower costs over their lifetime compared to stroke patients who do not receive telestroke care, researchers found. The savings are primarily attributed to reduced resource utilization, including nursing home care and inpatient rehabilitation.

Researchers also estimate that, compared with no network, a modeled telestroke system consisting of a single hub and seven spoke hospitals may result in the appropriate use of more clot-busting drugs, more catheter based interventional procedures and other stroke therapies, with more stroke patients discharged home independently. Despite the considerable upfront and maintenance expenses, the entire network of hospitals realizes a greater total cost savings, officials say.

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