Effects of post-discharge telemonitoring on 30-day chronic obstructive pulmonary disease readmissions and mortality

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Introduction: Much attention has been focused on decreasing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) hospital readmissions. The US health system has struggled to meet this goal. The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of telehealth services on the reduction of hospital readmission and mortality rates for COPD. Methods: We used a cross-sectional design to examine the association between hospital risk-adjusted readmission and mortality rates for COPD and hospital use of post-discharge telemonitoring (TM). Data for 777 hospitals were sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the American Hospital Association annual surveys. Propensity score matching using the kennel weights method was applied to calculate the weighted probability of being a hospital that offers post-discharge TM services. Results: Hospitals with post-discharge TM had about 34% significantly higher odds (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.34; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.70) of 30-day COPD readmission and 33% significantly lower odds (AOR = 0.67; 95% CI 0.50–0.90) of 30-day COPD mortality compared to hospitals without post-discharge TM services. Discussion: Overall, hospitals that offer post-discharge TM services have seen an improvement in 30-day COPD mortality rates. However, those same hospitals have also experienced a significant increase in 30-day COPD readmissions. TM can potentially decrease mortality in patients recently admitted for acute exacerbation of COPD. The results provide further evidence that readmissions present a problematic assessment of health-care quality, as the need for readmission may or may not be directly related to the quality of care received while in hospital.

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Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

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