Telehealth In Australia Could Save Health System US$2.29 Billion: Report

In-home monitoring of ailing aged could save Australia’s healthcare system billions of dollars, finds the country’s first large-scale trial of telehealth systems.

AsianScientist (Sept. 9, 2016) – Australia’s first large-scale telehealth trial has shown that telehealth could help the nation’s healthcare system save up to AU$3 billion (~US$2.29 billion) a year, according to a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) report titled Home Monitoring of Chronic Disease for Aged Care.

CSIRO lead researcher Dr. Rajiv Jayasena said aged patients with multiple chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic lung disease account for more than 70 percent of Australia’s health system expenditure.

As part of the trial, 287 patients were provided with a telehealth device that included participant-clinician video conferencing capabilities, messaging features, and the delivery of clinical and study specific questionnaires. They were also given vital signs devices to monitor their ECG, heart rate, spirometry, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, body weight and body temperature, with glucometry an optional add-on. Health workers assessed changes in their patient’s conditions remotely and provided appropriate care interventions earlier to help them stay out of hospital.

According to the report, patients in the 12-month trial had a reduced mortality rate of more than 40 percent, in addition to improvements in anxiety, depression and quality of life, with many finding that home monitoring gave them a better understanding of their chronic conditions.

“The trial also showed a substantial 36 percent decrease in hospital admission, and most importantly, a 42 percent reduction in length of stay if admitted to hospital during the 12-month trial,” Jayasena said.


Source: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
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