Two UNTHSC faculty study telehealth’s impact on diabetes home health care patients

Posted Date: June 30, 2011

José A. Pagán, PhD, chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the UNT Health Science Center’s (UNTHSC) School of Public Health, Fort Worth, Texas, is lead author on an article, “An Integrated, Clinician-focused Telehealth Monitoring System to Reduce Hospitalization Rates for Home Health Care patients with Diabetes,” to be published in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health.

Co-authors are Hsueh-Fen Chen, PhD, UNTHSC assistant professor of Health Management and Policy, and M. Christine Kalish, MBA, CMPE, from the Brittain-Kalish Group.

According to the study, telehealth monitoring systems can lead to substantially lowered hospitalization rates during the first 30 days of home health care, thereby reducing the high costs of hospitalizations related to diabetes. The term telehealth refers to the use of telecommunications and information technology to assess, diagnose, consult, monitor and provide information and interventions to patients across distance.

The study focused on 2009 data related to 699 Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health services in Texas and Louisiana; as available and appropriate, some were involved in telehealth-delivered programs.

Of those studied, the hospitalization rate for non-telehealth patients during the first 30 days of home health care was 19 percent, with the rate for telehealth patients being 12 percentage-points lower at 7 percent.