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Telemedicine for Recently Discharged Older Patients

Telemedicine and e-Health. 10.1089/tmj.2009.0058. Lavoisier Cardozo, M.D., F.A.C.P., and Joel Steinberg, M.D. Division of Geriatric Medicine and The Geriatric Center of Excellence, Wayne State University, School of Medicine and The Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan.

Congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and hypertension are common causes of hospitalization in the elderly. Short-term postdischarge clinical outcomes regarding compliance, symptom control, readmission, functional status, and mortality rates are in need of improvement. This observational study documents the results of a home-based case-managed telemedicine (CMTM) program delivered over a 2-month period postdischarge. A population of 851, predominantly elderly (over age 60), recently discharged patients were enrolled in the program. They received a nurse visit up to 3 times/week and home telemedicine monitoring (weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, blood glucose, and oximeter recordings) on a daily basis. Patient education was provided by the nurse and reinforced through telemedicine. Compliance rates, quality of life parameters, patient satisfaction with telemedicine, and data regarding nine quality of care measures (QCM), hospital readmission, and mortality rates were documented. Patient demographics and outcomes of care were analyzed. There were 68% females and 56% African Americans. The readmission rate was 13% and mortality 2%. Treatment goals were met in 67%, patient compliance rate was 77%, and the average improvement in the nine QCM indicators was 66%.

A majority of patients showed improved quality of health perception, better disease understanding, and high satisfaction rates with telemedicine. This is one of the larger observational studies in a predominantly elderly patient population enrolled in a CMTM program, to date. This model of care was well accepted by the elderly and produced excellent short-term clinical outcomes.

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