Telehealth, mobile systems among promising chronic care technologies

Home telehealth and extended care eVisit systems are among some of the more promising, available technologies, geared to fighting chronic care, according to a new report from NEHI, a health policy research organization that focuses on enabling innovation in healthcare. The report highlights a total of 11 underused technologies that have the potential to lower costs and improve care quality for chronic care patients.

The technologies also are divided into four separate classes, with those that are on the edge of widespread adoption (home telehealth, extended care eVisits and tele-stroke) in Class I, and those that are promising but lack research to support clinical or financial benefit (in-care telemedicine, social media and mobile cardiovascular tools) in Class IV.

Erin Bartolini, one of the researchers involved in the report, says reimbursements will be key to driving adoption, particularly for the Class I and Class II technologies.

"What's really holding a lot of those back are key policy barriers," Bartolini tells FierceHealthIT. "For many of them, it's reimbursement. Because many of these technologies take [patient] care to smartphones and personal computers--outside the doctor's office--the reimbursement system doesn't necessarily reflect that."

Bartolini adds, though, that reimbursement initiatives aren't the only barriers for many of the technologies.

"For some of the more emerging Class III and IV technologies, it's really about gathering the body of evidence to support adoption," she says. "Working to make sure these new technologies really seamlessly integrate into a patient's daily life is crucial."

The safety-net population should be the focus of these innovations, according to the report.

"Research increasingly points to the fact that the safety-net population is more similar to the general population in terms of technology adoption than previously assumed," the authors write. "Manufacturers should continue to innovate for and market to underserved populations as the adoption rate of mobile technologies continues to increase for this population, and they are likely to benefit significantly from high-value innovations."

To learn more:
- read the full report

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