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Could Your Home Care Business Benefit from Telemedicine?

Written by: Kimberly Commito on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Posted in: HME/DME, Home Infusion, Specialty Pharmacy

If you’ve been considering adding telemedicine services to your specialty pharmacy, home infusion, or HME/DME business but weren’t sure the added benefits would outweigh the costs, here’s some data that may help you decide.

Starting back in 1997, INTEGRIS Health, Oklahoma’s largest not-for-profit, state-owned health care system, began providing speech teletherapy to students in rural communities. Since then, INTEGRIS has added neurology consults for the state’s rural emergency departments as well as direct-to-consumer telehealth. With each addition, as well as any to come, the organization’s e-health advisory committee required a business plan that included the expected return on the investment (ROI). The committee continued to monitor the ROI well after each project was underway.

Some of the ROI that INTEGRIS has realized so far includes:

  • Reduced 30-day readmissions, accomplished with the help of home-based monitoring equipment
  • Reduced travel expenses for physicians who would otherwise have to travel to various regions of the state to provide care
  • Continued patient engagement, including from those outside the INTEGRIS network

The organization has experienced actual cost savings as well. For example, in 2016, its cost to treat upper respiratory infections (URI) totaled nearly $400,000. Compare that to what INTEGRIS has spent to treat URI virtually—less than $10,000 during the first quarter of 2017. If more patients can be treated via telemedicine, the healthcare system could lower its annual costs significantly.

While your ROI, and the metrics you use to determine it, will probably differ, it’s likely that you could reap rewards from a telemedicine program. If you are interested, start with just one project, as INTEGRIS did, and develop a business plan beforehand, so you have clear direction about what you want the program to achieve.

It could pay off in a big way. “What we do know is that, when strategically planned, telemedicine is a differentiator for our health system,” says Pam Forducey, PhD, INTEGRIS’ system director of eHealth. Learn how your home care business can become more efficient with CareTend mobile technology!

Source: “How to measure ROI of telemedicine: An Oklahoma health system shares some insights”;

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