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New study pinpoints future telehealth trends in US homecare

Philips Medical Systems : 10 October, 2007  (New Product)
Philips has announced the results of a survey of more than 950 home care agencies in the USA.
The ‘Philips National Study on the Future of Technology and Telehealth in Home Care’ was conducted by Fazzi Associates. Although only 17 percent of home care agencies currently use a Telehealth system, the industry expects the number of agencies using remote patient monitoring to double over the next two years as one third reported they are planning to purchase a system.

Co-sponsored by Philips, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), and Fazzi Associates, the results of this first-of-its-kind study reflect the opportunities and challenges for the adoption of home care technology. The study reveals growth opportunities emerging for home care agencies delivering services to 4.2 million senior citizens each year in the USA.

“The study indicates that the home care market is growing in the numbers of people served, while the acceptance and continued need for advanced in-home care technologies are shaping the industry’s future,” said Dr Robert Fazzi, founder and managing partner of Fazzi Associates and co-director of the Philips National Study. “After analysing the results, it is clear the home care field is rapidly moving toward the universal adoption of Telehealth systems. Remote monitoring of chronic disease patients can lead to improvements in quality of care and economic savings through reduced trips to the hospital emergency room.”

The study also pointed to the convergence of four technologies – fiscal and backroom IS systems, point of service (POS), electronic medical records (EMR) and Telehealth – which are increasingly being viewed as critical to clinical and operational management, and which must be compatible and integrated to best serve the industry.

“A study of this magnitude is beneficial to the overall home care industry as it sheds light on the importance of integrating technology and Telehealth into clinical practice to ensure both quality patient care and operational efficiency,” said Mike Lemnitzer, senior director of Philips Consumer Healthcare Solutions. “We believe that easy-to-use technology, coupled with excellent customer service, can help home care agencies simplify the delivery of services and provide better quality care as the industry evolves and grows over the next few years.”

Other key findings include:

- 80 percent of respondents reported that patients and families are reluctant to have Telehealth units removed from their home as they provide a sense of security by consistently updating health status and delivering an easy way for patients to manage their own care.

- Of the home care agencies surveyed, 77 percent have purchased a fiscal, billing and backroom system with nearly 53 percent satisfied and 21 percent planning to replacing their system;

- As many as 61 percent of all agencies are using Point of Service (POS) hardware to access patient records at the time and place of care, with 71 percent of home care providers using laptops to review and enter patient information while in the home; responses differed greatly, however, on the ease of implementation with new POS systems;

- 58 percent of home care agencies say they have integrated Electronic Medical Records into their practice, which arms providers with a patient’s background and medical history;

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