The Use of Telemonitoring in Reducing Rehospitalizations
Dr. Susan Dunn, Hope College
Patients who are readmitted to the hospital for chronic illnesses are contributing to increasing health care costs. One approach to reducing this “revolving door” problem is the use of telemonitoring. Telemonitoring systems record vital signs and other data in the patient’s home and transmit the data electronically to the health care provider. The purpose of this research project was to examine the use of a telemonitoring system in preventing rehospitalizations in patients who had received home health care. The project was based on Dorothea Orem’s theoretical framework, which addresses the role of the nurse in enabling patients to perform self care. Data was collected through a retrospective chart review at a home health care agency in West Michigan. Charts of 31 patients who had used telemonitoring and had been rehospitalized between January 2011 and August 2011 were used. Common diagnoses included diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and congestive heart failure. Data was analyzed using SPSS statistical software. Results of the study showed that patients were most likely to be rehospitalized during the first week of using telemonitoring. The findings also showed that physicians were contacted less than 40% of the time prior to rehospitalization and that when a physician was contacted, they sent the patient to the emergency room 70% of the time. Limitations of this study include small sample size and using only one agency for data collection. Future research is needed to identify better ways to utilize telemonitoring technology to prevent rehospitalization and to compare differences between patients who are rehospitalized and those who are not.
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