Telehealth and hospital performance: Does it matter?

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Introduction: Previous studies indicated that telehealth services may improve hospital performance. However, the extent to which these telehealth provisions would improve hospital total performance score under the hospital value-based purchasing (HVBP) programme is not clear. The aim of this study is to examine the association between telehealth provision and hospital performance. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the association between the provision of telehealth services and 2699 hospital’s total performance score (TPS) on the 2018 HVBP programme and its four domains. Multivariate regression models were used to analyse TPS and hospital performance on each domain. Telehealth services offered by a hospital was categorically operationalized as hospitals with no telehealth services, with one to two telehealth services, and with three or more telehealth services. Results: Hospitals with one to two telehealth services have TPS (ß coefficient = 1.50; 95% confident intervals (CI): 0.28, 2.73; p < 0.05) and hospitals with three or more telehealth services have higher efficiency and cost reduction (ß = 1.10; 95% CI: 0.32, 1.87; p < 0.01) domain scores. However, the impact of telehealth on clinical care, person and community engagement, and safety domain scores was not significant. Discussion: The expansion of hospital telehealth service provision can improve not only the efficiency of care, but also the total performance of the hospital. Since total performance is directly associated with hospital payments from the government, these findings have significant practice and policy implications. In addition, the effect of telehealth on other quality measures such as clinical care and safety needs further investigation.

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Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

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