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J Med Internet Res. 2013 Feb 18;15(2):e38. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2361.

Cost-effectiveness of a new internet-based monitoring tool for neonatal post-discharge home care.

Author information

1
Unit of Biophysics and Bioengineering, Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The application of information and communication technologies in nursing care is becoming more widespread, but few applications have been reported in neonatal care. A close monitoring of newborns within the first weeks of life is crucial to evaluating correct feeding, growth, and health status. Conventional hospital-based postdischarge monitoring could be improved in terms of costs and clinical effectiveness by using a telemedicine approach.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a new Internet-based system for monitoring low-risk newborns after discharge compared to the standard hospital-based follow-up, with specific attention to prevention of emergency department (ED) visits in the first month of life.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective cohort study of two low-risk newborn patient groups. One group, born between January 1, 2011, and June 30, 2011, received the standard hospital-based follow-up visit within 48 hours after discharge. After implementing an Internet-based monitoring system, another group, born between July 19, 2011, and January 19, 2012, received their follow-up with this system.

RESULTS:

A total of 18 (15.8%) out of 114 newborns who received the standard hospital-based follow-up had an ED visit in the first month of life compared with 5 (5.6%; P=.026) out of 90 infants who were monitored by the Internet-based system. The cost of the hospital-based follow-up was 182.1€ per patient, compared with 86.1€ for the Internet-based follow-up.

CONCLUSION:

Our Internet-based monitoring approach proved to be both more effective and less costly than the conventional hospital-based follow-up, particularly through reducing subsequent ED visits.

PMID:
23419609
PMCID:
PMC3636285
DOI:
10.2196/jmir.2361
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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