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Telemed J E Health. 2009 Jan;15(1):31-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2008.0046.

Cost effectiveness of a telerehabilitation program to support chronically ill and disabled elders in their homes.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA.


Chronic illnesses account for approximately 75% of all healthcare costs in the United States today, resulting in functional limitations and loss of independence, as well as increased medical expenditures. The elderly population is at a higher risk for developing chronic conditions, increasing their risk for disabilities. Given the rapid growth of the aging population, and the chronic illnesses, disabilities, and loss of functional independence endemic to elders, novel methods of rehabilitation and care management are urgently needed. Telehealth models that combine care coordination with communications technology offer a means for managing chronic illnesses, thereby decreasing healthcare costs. We examined the effects of a Veterans Administration (VA) telerehabilitation program (Low Activities of Daily Living [ADL] Monitoring Program-LAMP) on healthcare costs. LAMP is based on a rehabilitative model of care. LAMP patients received adaptive equipment and environmental modifications, which focused on self-care and safety within the home. LAMP Care Coordinators remotely monitored their patient's vital signs and provided education and self-management strategies for decreasing the effects of chronic illnesses and functional decline. The matched comparison group (MCG) received standard VA care. Healthcare costs 12 months preenrollment and 12 months post-enrollment were examined through a difference-in-differences multivariable model. Using actual costs totaled for these analyses, no significant differences were detected in post-enrollment costs between LAMP and the MCG. For LAMP patients, the provision of adaptive equipment and environmental modifications, plus intensive in-home monitoring of patients, led to increases in clinic visits post-intervention with decreases in hospital and nursing home stays.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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