We’ve said it time and time again here at Tapestry Telehealth: “Everyone deserves access to quality health care, no matter where they live.” But a new study in the journal Health Affairs indicates that may not be happening.
According to the study, “Assessing First Visits By Physicians To Medicare Patients Discharged To Skilled Nursing Facilities,” which analyzed 2.4 million Medicare patient discharges from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities between January 2012 and October 2014, 10.4 percent of those patients never saw a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant during their time there.
Of the residents who didn’t see a doctor at all, 28 percent were readmitted to the hospital and 14.2 percent died within 30 days of admission to the nursing home. Among patients who saw a doctor at least once, 14.3 percent were readmitted and 7.2 percent died.
These findings by researchers and clinicians at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine are dramatic. And they make clear how important it is to ensure that medical care is available on site every day in nursing homes, especially rural nursing homes.
At Tapestry Telehealth, our mission is making sure nursing home residents have bedside access to a team of physicians, specialists and behavioral health services using state-of-the-art technology. And it works.
In fact, according to one of the study’s authors in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer about the findings, “Telemedicine could also improve access to physicians.”
Telemedicine reduces costs on our health-care system by helping to prevent avoidable and unnecessary hospitalizations. TapestryCare™ provides a dedicated nurse practitioner supported by a full-scope multi-specialty medical and behavioral health group.
The TapestryCare™ clinicians are available on weekdays and on demand to work virtually with on-site nursing teams as part of regular and scheduled rounds. That helps to improve diagnoses and medical outcomes.
Early assessments are important to setting baseline treatment plans and addressing changing conditions, especially in smaller and rural nursing homes, which were the slowest to provide examinations to patients.
There is no reason for this to happen, and no reason that any facility should deprive residents care. Telemedicine programs like TapestryCare™ are closing the gap to improve lives and enhance care.