The impact of remote patient monitoring (telehealth) upon Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure

Telemed J E Health. 2012 Mar;18(2):101-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2011.0095. Epub 2012 Jan 27.


Objective: To study the impact of remote patient monitoring (RPM) upon the most frequent diagnosis in hospitalized patients over 65 years of age-heart failure (HF). We examined the effect of RPM on hospital utilization and Medicare costs of HF patients receiving home care.

Materials and methods: Two studies were simultaneously conducted: A randomized and a matched-cohort study. In the randomized study, 168 subjects were randomly assigned (after hospitalization) to home care utilizing RPM (live nursing visits and video-based nursing visits) or to home care receiving live nursing visits only. In the matched-cohort study, 160 subjects receiving home care with RPM (live nursing visits and video-based nursing visits) were matched with home care subjects receiving live nursing visits only.

Results: Regardless of whether outcomes were being analyzed for all subjects (intention to treat) or for hospitalized subjects only, hospitalization rates, time to first admission, length of stay, and costs to Medicare did not differ significantly between groups in either study at 30 or 90 days after enrollment. A notable trend, however, emerged across studies: Although time to hospitalization was shorter in the RPM groups than the control groups, RPM groups had lower hospitalization costs.

Conclusions: RPM, when utilized in conjunction with a robust management protocol, was not found to significantly differ from live nursing visits in the management of HF in home care. Shorter hospitalization times and lower associated costs may be due to earlier identification of exacerbation. These trends indicate the need for further study.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiology / economics
  • Cardiology / instrumentation*
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Heart Failure*
  • Home Care Services / economics
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / economics
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • United States