- by Medikoe HealthTech Expert
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- May 29 2017
Patients in rural hospitals can save thousands of dollars if local hospital is part of tele-emergency room network
Patients in small towns can save thousands of dollars in healthcare costs if their local rural hospital is part of a tele-emergency room (tele-ER) network, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.
Patients can save about $5,600 a year in transportation and other related expenses by staying in their local hospital and avoiding transfer to a larger hospital elsewhere, the study found. Those savings also included expenses such as missed time at work, lodging, and other personal expenses of accompanying friends or family members.
The study looked at more than 9,000 tele-ER encounters over the course of 52 months at 85 small, rural hospitals in seven states that are part of a network operated by Avera eCare, based in Sioux Falls, SD. The researchers asked healthcare providers at the hub facility, Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, how many patients they examined via tele-ER were able to remain in their local communities for treatment but likely would have been transferred to a larger hospital were it not for the remote exam.
The clinicians said nearly 1,200 patients likely would have been transferred if not for the tele-ER service.
The study found the use of tele-ER services does not save the local hospital money, because of the systems’ high operating costs. But even after factoring in those costs, the study suggests the use of tele-ER saves about $3,800 in the larger economy, keeping that money in the local community.
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