Telehealth + care management = cost savings (surprised?))

Is this stating the obvious to most of us? There have been many studies that indicated the cost effectiveness of telehealth when combined with care management, but most have been small samples and short duration. According to this new study published in the peer-reviewed Health Affairs, a program with care managers monitoring daily vital signs data from the Bosch Health Buddy web portal effected spending reductions of approximately 7.7-13.3% ($312-$542) per person per quarter. The 1,767 Medicare patients (with an equal number of non-users) were from a two-year CMS high-risk demonstration in two rural areas of Washington state and Oregon. All had chronic conditions: diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or congestive heart failure (CHF). The study abstract dances away from health outcomes. However, the CMS report found that while costs rose 8% more slowly for the intervention group than for the control group, “but savings needed to exceed 12.1 percent to be considered statistically significant.” Despite CMS’ diffidence, certainly confirmation that integrated telehealth/care management programs save money. Telemonitoring Saves Money When Combined With Traditional Care (Information Week). Health Affairs study abstract.

Updated: Neil Versel’s interview with Bosch’s Jasper zu Putlitz

Updated: Fairly detailed Bosch press release: 3 Year Study Demonstrates Benefits of Content-Driven Telehealth in Reducing Mortality and Healthcare Costs