The following analysis appeared a few days ago.
Broadband-based Applications Can Improve Care for Chronic Disease
The United States could cut $197 billion from its health care bill over the next 25 years by widespread use of remote monitoring to track the vital signs of patients with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure and diabetes, according to a new study released today by economist Robert Litan. Litan said that savings would be maximized by public policy adjustments that encourage health care institutions and individual caregivers to accelerate the use of remote monitoring.
“Remote monitoring can spot health problems sooner, reduce hospitalization, improve life quality and save money,” Litan said at a health care forum sponsored by Better Health Care Together (www.betterhealthcaretogether.org).
But he warned that adoption of remote monitoring and other telemedicine opportunities will be slowed and benefits reduced unless the United States does a better job of reimbursing health care organizations for remote care and encouraging continued investment in broadband infrastructure that can be tailored to meet the privacy, security, and reliability requirements for telemedicine applications.
Failure to make the right policy adjustments will cut estimated health care savings by almost $44 billion over the 25-year period, Litan estimated.
Full analysis follows here:
Some commentary is found here:
Remotely monitoring patients with chronic diseases could cut nearly $200 billion from the country’s health care costs in the next 25 years, according to a new study by economist Robert Litan.
Public policy changes would be necessary to achieve the full savings, Litan said, but even without them, the technology could reduce health care costs by $153 billion.
Litan’s report, “Vital Signs Via Broadband: Remote Health Monitoring Transmits Savings, Enhances Lives,” was released today at a press conference in Washington. AT&T and Better Health Care Together, a nonprofit consortium that promotes health care reform, funded his research. Litan is vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Besides reducing costs, remote monitoring could improve health outcomes and the quality of life for about 10 million people, Litan said. He analyzed potential effects on patients with four conditions: congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic skin ulcers.
The savings would come primarily by reducing emergency room visits, hospitalizations and hospital lengths of stay. “What this technology is able to do is eliminate a lot of false visits” to hospitals, Litan said, referring to unnecessary visits caused by sudden downturns in a patient’s health.
Remote monitoring involves equipping patients with devices such as heart and blood pressure monitors or blood sugar meters, then transmitting meter readings to a health care center that tracks the data. The goal is to spot problems as they develop and take steps right away rather than waiting for them to become crises.
This seems to me to be a serious report from reputable people who have thought hard about how we can reach sustainability in the Health Care sector.
There have to be lessons in all this for Australia.
Minister Roxon – are you listening and reading?