Why telehealth isn’t in nursing homes

August 21, 2019

TELEHEALTH: WHY NOT IN NURSING HOMES? — Virtual care could save frail, elderly patients from being shunted from the nursing home to the emergency department – a trip that could disorient them and worsen their conditions, especially if it’s not necessary. But elder care facilities are hesitant to adopt telemedicine, and experts say it’s because there’s no clear payment model.

“The inherent benefits of telehealth have been made clear time and time again,” BDO’s Steven Shill told Mohana. But, “even if it's a good idea, if you're not going to get paid for it, it becomes a bad idea very quickly.”

Elderly patients’ discomfort with the technology shouldn’t be as large a barrier as some facilities make it seem, said University of Rochester’s Suzanne Gillespie, the lead author on a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association on telemedicine in nursing homes. “There certainly are some [concerns], same as there might be for many different populations, because it’s a different technology...but once you engage them, they seem to do quite well and like telemedicine care.