Telemedicine in the home improves patient outcomes and saves health care dollars

New Rochelle 19 April 2006By bringing state-of-the-art medical technology and expert physician care to patients in their homes or at local primary care centres, telehomecare is revolutionizing health care delivery, improving patient outcomes across a broad spectrum of diseases, and saving precious health care dollars and resources. The April 2006 Special Issue of Telemedicine and e-Health focuses on the promise, ongoing success, and future challenges of telehomecare.

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"Advances in sensor and monitoring technology as well as communications have enabled health management at a distance", stated Charles Doarn, MBA, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Associate Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, and Executive Director, Center for Surgical Innovation at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. "Patients are now better informed and more willing to participate in the management of their health care. Home health care linked with telemedicine has become a necessary tool for health care in the 21st century."

Featured in this special issue is a paper that explores the potential for providing home telehealth outreach to rural communities and describes the results of a three-year pilot programme. In the study entitled, "Rural Outreach in Home Telehealth: Assessing Challenges and Reviewing Successes", more frequent patient monitoring had a direct effect on improving patient outcomes and led to approximately 145 fewer travel hours and 7500 fewer miles of nurse travel.

Another exciting report describes the use of a digital tool for performing eye examinations for early detection of eye disease in patients with diabetes. Using a DigiScope, trained technicians in a primary care setting can perform these eye exams and teletransfer the images to ophthalmologists for review, giving many more patients easier access to regular, life-saving eye check-ups.

Other intriguing reports in this issue focus on the application of telerehabilitation for individuals with spinal cord injuries, home telehealth for adults with developmental disabilities, and the use of an infrared motion detection system to monitor the daily living activities of elderly people living in nursing homes.

Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, co-edited by Ronald Merrell, M.D., Professor of Surgery, and Director, Medical Informatics and Technology Applications Consortium at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and Charles Doarn, MBA, is an international, peer-reviewed journal combining medicine, telecommunications, and information technology. Published bimonthly in print and on-line, the Journal includes empirical research, descriptive case studies, policy analysis, and papers on technical design and communications protocols.

Telemedicine and e-Health is published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. and is the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. The papers in this special issue are available free on-line.


Leslie Versweyveld

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