The Particulars: Some studies suggest that the 30-day readmission rate for patients with heart failure (HF) is as high as 25%. Excess HF readmissions now come with financial penalties from CMS. A nurse-based home telemonitoring program may be a cost-effective approach to reducing readmission rates among HF patients.

Data Breakdown: For a study, HF patients were randomized to usual care or a telemonitoring program that consisted to two home visits by a nurse. The home visits focused on HF education and used home telemonitoring equipment. The equipment transmitted daily vital signs, weight, and pulse oximetry readings for 3 months. The All-cause readmission rate was 12.5% for the telemonitoring group, compared with a 27.5% rate observed in the usual care group. Respective HF 30-day readmission rates were 2.5% for those receiving telemonitoring and 10% for those receiving usual care. The telemonitoring program costs about $51,000, which is less expensive than the estimated $183,500 that comes with CMS penalties for excess HF readmissions in 2013.

Take Home Pearls: Home telemonitoring appears to significantly reduce 30-day readmission rates for patients with HF. The program also appears to be cost-effective when compared with usual care.