Economic evaluations of telemedicine and telehealth in various settings
To address the challenge of improving cost, access, quality of care simultaneously, healthcare sector can take advantage of recent innovations in information and communication technologies. One example is “telehealth,” using electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance healthcare. Telehealth has great potential to overcome the problems regarding geographic barriers and uneven supply of healthcare workforce. These problems become more important under the implementation of the US Affordable Care Act, leading to drastic reorganizations of provider networks. Nevertheless, the literature on economic evaluation of telehealth has been very limited, particularly in settings of intensive care unit (ICU), institutionalize long-term care, and community care. The spread of telemedicine in ICU appears to have slowed, partly due to the high start-up costs and limited evidence in economic efficiency. The first presentation will discuss whether a selected use of telemedicine in ICU will improve economic efficiency, with a standard decision model analysis using the US literature for model parameters. The second presentation will discuss the economic efficiency of two socially-assistive devices “Hugvie” (a human-shaped cushion functioning as a communication medium) and “Telenoid,” (a remotely-operated android designed to appear and behave like a minimalistic human). These devices are expected to reduce problematic behaviors among elderly with dementia in long-term care facilities. The evaluation models’ parameters were derived from the ongoing pilot interventions in Japan and Denmark, supplemented by the US relevant literature. The final presentation will report the economic efficiency of tele-home-care, transmitting health-related data from community-dwelling elderly users to a remote medical institution.