Telemedicine Research Gains More Support – This Time from the Veterans

New telemedicine research from Vanderbilt University and the Department of Veterans Affairs supports the growing trend of telehealth technologies. In a study that took place from May 2014 to June 2014, 23 veterans received basic surgery and were then seen three times for post-operation services. The first follow-up was conducted through telemedicine video conferencing solutions. The second was by phone, and the third and final visit was done traditionally, in-person. There were zero post-operation infections missed during the video and phone sessions, according to the industry news site HealthcareITnews.com.

The researchers published their telemedicine research, entitled “Postoperative Telehealth Visits: Assessment of Quality and Preferences of Veterans,” in the American Medical Association’s journal, JAMA Surgery.

“There is increasing interest in telehealth as a means to improve access to care and decrease costs associated with patients traveling for traditional face-to-face encounters,” the report states. “Our aim was to measure the quality of the visits and the preferences for postoperative general surgical care among veterans with regard to telephone, video, and in-person postoperative visits.”

Not only did the methods prove accurate and reliable, the majority of participants favored the modern form of healthcare. In fact, 69% of them expressed a preference for telehealth over traditional visits. The chances and degree of satisfaction increased among those that lived further distances from the hospital. The data in this study falls in line with the majority of telemedicine research which suggests the convenience, accuracy, and overall efficiency of telehealth make it a viable and increasingly popular healthcare alternative.

Another 18-month study found that appointments using telepsychiatry software were 5% more likely to be kept than face-to-face ones (92 to 87%). Additionally, a separate study reported that telepsychiatry appointments were significantly less likely to be canceled (3.5% to 4.8%) and no-showed (4.2% to 7.8%). Finally, one online therapy trial found that patients averaged six sessions and re-booked with the same professional 73% of the time.

The project lead author, Michael Vella, MD, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, spoke to Reuters about the potential these services can have on the future of healthcare.

“These kinds of methods are really important in the climate we’re in now,” Vella said. “So I think anything you can do to save money, see more patients and improve access to care is really important.”

Implement a telemental health solution and garner these very benefits in your practice.

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