Objective: To implement a cost/benefit analysis of telemedicine subspecialty care provided between the Powhatan Correctional Center (PCC) of the Virginia Department of Corrections (Corrections) and the Medical College of Virginia campus of Virginia Commonwealth University (MCV/VCU).
Methods: We evaluated the costs and benefits of the implementation of telemedicine for HIV-positive inmates. Benefits included dollar savings in transportation and medical reimbursement. Costs included those of operating the telemedicine system and of medical care. Non-dollar benefits included implementing more consistent and timely treatment of inmates and reducing security risk.
Results: Over the 7-month study period, the total number of HIV consults by telemedicine was 165. The Department of Corrections was able to achieve transportation and medical savings of $35,640 and $21,123, respectively. The operating costs for the telemedicine services totaled $42,277. The net benefit, which is the difference between cost savings and total operating costs, was $14,486.
Conclusion: Telemedicine increased access to care for HIV-positive inmates and generated cost savings in transportation and care delivery.