Long-term effect of home telehealth services on preventable hospitalization use

Huanguang Jia, Ho-Chih Chuang, Samuel S Wu, Xinping Wang, Neale R Chumbler
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 2009, 46 (5): 557-66
In this study, we assessed the longitudinal effect of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patient-centered Care Coordination Home Telehealth (CCHT) program on preventable hospitalization use by veterans with diabetes mellitus (DM) at four VA medical centers. We used a matched treatment-control design (n = 387 for both groups). All patients were followed for 4 years. We operationalized ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ACSCs) by applying Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality criteria to VA inpatient databases to determine preventable hospitalization use. We used a generalized linear mixed model to estimate the adjusted effect of the CCHT program on preventable hospitalization use over time. During the initial 18 months of follow-up, CCHT enrollees were less likely to be admitted for a preventable hospitalization than their nonenrollee counterparts, and this difference diminished during the rest of the 4-year follow-up period. The VA CCHT program for DM patients reduced preventable hospitalizations. These findings are some of the first that have systematically examined the extent to which home telehealth programs have a long-term effect on preventable hospitalization use.

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