Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Philips telehealth helps Banner halve hospital readmissions

Steve Rogerson
January 31, 2017
 
Building on a successful pilot study to demonstrate how telehealth can support connected health initiatives and better manage care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, Dutch giant Philips and Arizona-based Banner Health announced results showing significant decreases in both patient healthcare costs and hospitalisation rates.
 
As part of the overall telehealth programme at Banner, one of the largest non-profit health systems in the USA, the Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC) pilot programme treats patients with complex medical situations due to multiple chronic conditions. Across the nation, these types of patients generate half of overall healthcare spend.
 
The results of this latest cost analysis reveal the initial benefits for Banner by leveraging Philips' IAC programme continue to improve with significant reductions in hospitalisations, readmissions and healthcare costs and, ultimately, improving patient outcomes.
 
In this updated study, Philips and Banner examined 128 patients who had at least one year pre-IAC and one year post-IAC follow up to see the prolonged impact of the IAC programme on patient outcomes. The analysis of patient results over the first full year of the programme revealed that the IAC programme helped reduce overall costs of care by 34.5 per cent. This cost saving was driven primarily by a reduction in hospitalisation rates and days in the hospital, as well as a reduction in professional service and outpatient costs.
 
It also reduced hospitalisations by 49.5 per cent. Prior to enrolment in the IAC programme, there were 10.9 hospitalisations per 100 patients per month; after enrolment, the acute and long-term hospitalisation rate dropped to 5.5 hospitalisations per 100 patients per month.
 
The number of days in hospital was halved. Prior to enrolment, the average number of days in the hospital was 60 days per 100 patients per month, compared with 30 days after enrolment.
 
And it reduced the 30-day readmission rate by 75 per cent. The 30-day readmission rate went from 20 per cent prior to enrolment to five per cent after enrolment.
 
"This updated data of our telehealth programme show that we were able to achieve even more significant cost savings and reduced hospitalisation rates by continuing to leverage Philips' powerful telehealth solutions," said Deb Dahl, vice president at Banner Health. "We have been able to make significant improvements with our most complex patients over long periods of time, and the results can potentially be applied to better manage the health of other patient populations."
 
The one-year post-IAC follow up results presented in the study are significant as they provide an accurate picture of day-to-day patient outcomes of the IAC programme. The longer patients with chronic conditions are monitored, the more difficult it is to sustain or improve outcomes due to multiple factors, including the increased chances of chronic conditions worsening and the Hawthorne effect, in which research participants alter their natural behaviour in the short-term due to their awareness of being evaluated. As time passes with this psychological phenomenon, participants are gradually more likely to forget they are being evaluated and act natural, instead of trying to put forth their best behaviour.
 
"Connected care technology can be a powerful tool in improving care while reducing costs, and having data that demonstrate its long-term success is critical to driving wider adoption by both patients and care providers," said Manu Varma, general manager and head of Philips Hospital to Home. "We applaud Banner for the dedicated investments and inventive processes they have put in place allowing them to achieve these substantial results."
 
The programme is part of a suite of integrated enterprise telehealth powered by Philips to help improve outcomes, provide better value and expand access to quality care. These programmes help address multiple cohorts within a population ranging from highest cost patients with intensive ambulatory care and acute needs, to discharge transition and chronic patient management, to prevention and wellness for the general population.
 
The Philips telehealth programmes are designed to leverage a proactive care model to transform clinically the delivery of care to address growing clinician shortages while improving patient outcomes.
 
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest, non-profit health care systems in the USA, managing 28 acute care hospitals, the Banner Health Network and Banner Medical Group, long-term care centres, outpatient surgery centres and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services, and a nursing registry.