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Telemedicine could eradicate many expensive ED visits
Date:5/5/2008

>This wouldve not only freed up emergency resources to people who needed them more it would have afforded smaller co-pays for parents and more timely, personalized care, McConnochie said. (On average, 87 percent of these telemedicine visits are handled by the childs own family pediatrician.)

But parents arent the only ones who stand to benefit. McConnochie, in related research also being presented at the upcoming meeting, suggests that telemedicine will also serve the ultimate objectives of insurers and the community as well better quality care at a lower price. Typically, insurers have been wary of embracing the technology, fearing the convenience may lead parents to use medical care more often and drive up costs; but another community study from Rochester suggests the exact opposite that in the long run, insurers actually would realize cost savings more than $14 per child per year in that local community.

In that study, researchers analyzed two groups of children that were almost identical except one had access to their doctors office, the emergency department, and telemedicine technology for care, and the second had only the first two options. They tracked how often families used services, and which ones.

We found that the first group of families, which had access to telemedicine for their children, did in fact access care for illness overall nearly 23 percent more often than the second group, McConnochie said.

But since emergency department visits among these children with telemedicine access were nearly 24 percent less common and since these visits cost about 7-times the cost of a doctor office or telemedicine visit the telemedicine group ultimately still cost the insurers less per child over the course of a year.

Its similar to the idea of staying trim by eating healthy. It would be wrong to assume that someone who ate 20 items of food each day all lean and nutritious would be less healthy than someone
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Contact: Becky Jones
rebecca_jones@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-8490
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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