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The American Journal of Managed Care August 2018
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Impact of After-Hours Telemedicine on Hospitalizations in a Skilled Nursing Facility
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Impact of After-Hours Telemedicine on Hospitalizations in a Skilled Nursing Facility

David Chess, MD; John J. Whitman, MBA; Diane Croll, DNP; and Richard Stefanacci, DO
A case study highlighting clinical and financial outcomes of an after-hours on-demand telemedicine intervention in a skilled nursing facility.

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are increasingly being called upon to prevent avoidable hospitalizations. Primary care provider (PCP) bedside assessment for change of condition in SNF patients is believed to improve care and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, but PCPs are not always available on site in an SNF. This study addresses the potential clinical and financial impacts of an after-hours physician coverage service enabled by technology, TripleCare (TC), to prevent avoidable hospitalizations.

TC was launched in a 365-bed SNF in Brooklyn, New York, in March 2015. Outcomes were tracked and evaluated for the initial year. Avoided hospitalizations were identified as such by the covering physicians and confirmed by the facility’s medical director.

Of the 313 patients cared for by the telemedicine-enabled covering physicians during the year of service, 259 (83%) were treated on site, including 91 who avoided hospitalizations as verified by a third party, and 54 were transferred to the hospital. It is estimated that the associated cost savings to Medicare and other payers exceeded $1.55 million, approximately $500,000 of which went to a managed care Medicare payer, in this 1 SNF during this period. Medicare would annually save $500,000 in an average 120-bed facility, or $4167 per bed.

Use of a dedicated virtual after-hours physician coverage service in an SNF demonstrated a significant reduction in avoidable hospitalizations.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(8):385-388

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