How Telehealth is Affecting Home Health Care


In an increasingly aging population, the growing prevalence of the chronic disease has turned into a consistent concern in the healthcare industry. As earlier hospital discharges are prompted, home health care is bearing the burden of chronic disease and the elderly in the healthcare system. According to Faivish Pewzner, COO of the Americare Companies, by 2030, people over the age of 65 will comprise over 20% of the total U.S. population. The growth of this population affects all aspects of our society and contributes to the demand for efficient and effective home health care.

Chronic conditions account for most of today’s healthcare resources and are one of the leading causes of illness, disability, and death. More than 75% of US citizens over the age of 65, have at least one chronic condition and according to this publication, one in four Americans has multiple chronic conditions. Additionally, as Pewzner explains, the re-hospitalization costs for geriatric patients continue to burden the health care system and contribute to unfavorable health outcomes for patients.

As the population continues to age and manage chronic disease, the use of tools such as telehealth plays an important part in providing the best care and education to patients, adds Mr. Pewzner. Telehealth provides an efficient means for the home health agency to manage patient care in the presence of chronic disease. Telehealth in home health is rewarded through improved clinical outcomes such as reduced hospitalizations and improved functional status of the patient. With the use of telehealth tools and services, nurses are able to remotely assess critical information to monitor patients and their chronic conditions through an interactive device, which allows them to care for more patients in the same amount of time. By serving more patients in a shorter amount of time, healthcare organizations can cost-effectively grow their membership while increasing care quality and patient satisfaction.

Currently, telehealth ranks as one of the top four investment priorities for providers across all healthcare domains. It encompasses a range of services, from health monitoring and patient consultation to the transmission of medical records. A growing number of healthcare organizations and executives, including Americare and its COO Faivish Pewzner, have embraced telehealth because of the benefits it provides to patients and clinicians. One of its biggest advantages is easy to access to on-demand care. During a telemedicine consultation, the doctor can learn more about the symptoms, discuss treatment options and determine whether a prescription is necessary. More importantly, Faivish Pewzner explains, remote access can be a huge quality of life improvement for patients who don’t have a reliable means of transportation, who struggle with mobility challenges or disabilities that make traveling difficult. This is especially true for those living with chronic conditions for which frequent checkups are necessary.

Telehealth services reduce hospital readmission rates by enabling doctors to monitor patients outside the office. It enables individual doctors to reach more patients, which is especially convenient for rural areas facing a shortage of specialists. In addition to that, the cost to patients for telehealth consultations is often lower than an in-office visit. Plus, in-office visits and overnight stays at healthcare facilities can be difficult for individuals in poor health. Because of this, many hospitals have already started to include some form of remote monitoring as part of their post-discharge plans.