What's the proper patient 'dosing' of telehealth? 5 things to know

With the rapid adoption of telehealth over the past year, West Virginia University researchers are exploring patient trends to decipher the appropriate number of visits and lengths patients should partake, according to a May 7 news release.

Five things to know:

1. For the study, published in E-Health Telecommunication Systems and Networks, a team of WVU researchers completed a systematic review of studies that explored telehealth and chronic conditions.

2. The review included "quasi-experimental" tests and randomized controlled trials encompassing three types of telehealth services: synchronous (real-time videoconferencing), asynchronous (exchanging messages) and remote patient monitoring (reviewing readings from devices like glucometers).

3. Regardless of the form telehealth took, the researchers found it produced positive results in patients who received the services for 51 weeks. Telehealth durations of 37 weeks or 38 weeks created mixed or neutral results.

4. The dataset wasn't expansive enough for the researchers to come to any conclusions about the best dose of telehealth to improve care effectiveness, quality, safety and cost, but the WVU team is now compiling these data points through the state's new telehealth program that tracks virtual care services and how they influence particular health metrics.

5. The program, dubbed "Take Me Home, West Virginia," is funded by CMS and supports state Medicaid programs to give older adults and people with disabilities more care resources for long-term care.


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