Intel study reveals telehealth will dramatically transform health care

San Antonio 18 May 2010Health care delivery in the United States will undergo dramatic changes over the next 10 years through the adoption of telehealth, according to a national survey of health care and information technology professionals sponsored by Intel Corporation. The study found that a majority of decision makers believe that the emergence of telehealth will have a major role in improving the quality and delivery of care to an increasingly chronically ill and aging population.


"The survey demonstrates the increasing need to shift from the current reactive health care system to a more pro-active model that champions the patient and gives clinicians the information they need", stated Mariah Scott, director of sales and marketing for the Intel Digital Health Group. "At Intel, we are dedicated to creating telehealth and remote health management solutions today to create a better health care landscape for tomorrow."

Telehealth solutions, which deliver health-related services and information via telecommunications and computing technologies, are currently being used by two-thirds of health care professionals with an 87 percent satisfaction rate. These professionals believe that improved patient outcomes are the biggest perceived advantage to telehealth adoption, followed by additional benefits such as more complete clinician access to patient data and early identification of health issues. Of the respondents not currently utilizing telehealth, 50 percent plan on implementing it within the next year as the market for telehealth and home health monitoring is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2009 to an estimated $7,7 billion by 2012 (Combined data for United States and Europe. Data Monitor reports Telehealth spending North America and Telehealth spending 2007-2012).

With the onset of the globally aging population and increasing numbers of chronically ill patients, a hospital-based, transaction-driven health care system is no longer sustainable. The study shows clinical decision makers believe that the adoption of technology, and particularly telehealth solutions, will cut costs and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides an impetus to start using new models of care when dealing with chronically ill and aging populations. For respondents, health care legislation will have the biggest impact on health care delivery in the next 5 years, and they have high confidence that the law will accelerate the adoption of telehealth.

According to clinical decision makers, reimbursement is the primary barrier to telehealth adoption. Despite evidence that telehealth can reduce hospital re-admissions by up to 25 percent and significantly cut costs for health care organisations (Seto, Emily. "Cost Comparison Between Telemonitoring and Usual Care of Heart Failure: A Systematic Review". Telemed J E Health. 2008 Sep; 14(7):679-86. Available at Mary Ann Liebert Publishers website), many see changes in reimbursement policy as necessary to enable wider access to telehealth care. Following reimbursement, concerns that clinical staff and patients will be unable to successfully use new technologies, despite strong evidence to the contrary in pilot studies (Little, Alan and Meyers, Brett, MD. "SCAN Health Plan and HealthCare Partners Explore the Use of Remote Health Management Technology for Frail Seniors"." 2010), remain a major barrier to adoption.

Telehealth is already creating sustainable change in today's health care industry by moving care from the hospital to the home and achieving true patient-centred care that transcends boundaries of time and location. This study reveals a need for better education about how to overcome perceived barriers in order to implement proven and cost-effective systems that improve quality of life for patients and clinicians alike.

Intel is committed to inspiring change in health care through people-centred innovations. By leveraging new technologies and models of care, Intel offers solutions that shift the centre of care from the institution to the person and can be scaled up or down depending on future needs.

Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) conducted 75 phone interviews with health care and IT professionals in the United States who play a role in determining telehealth adoption and implementation within their organisations. Overall, margin of error is ±11,3 percent.

Penn Schoen Berland, a unit of the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. The company has over 30 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage - what is called Winning Knowledge. PSB executes polling and message testing services for Fortune 100 corporations and has helped elect more than 30 presidents and prime ministers around the world.

Intel is a world expert in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world's computing devices. More company news is available in the VMW March 2010 article GE Healthcare, Intel and Mayo Clinic explore new models of health care delivery.

Source: Intel

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