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Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder Teleconsultation Outcome Study

Authors

  • Sadie Young-Hughes DNP MSN RN,

    Nurse Practitioner, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Sadie Young-Hughes, DNP MSN RN, is a nurse practitioner at Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder Clinic, in Cincinnati, OH.

  • Loretta A. Simbartl MS

    StatisticianSearch for more papers by this author
    • Loretta A. Simbartl, MS, is a statistician at Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Medical Service in Cincinnati, OH.


sadie.hughesyoung@va.gov

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the costs of providing specialty wound care to spinal cord injury/disorder (SCI/D) veterans by teleconsultation and traditional care. A retrospective design was used to conduct this descriptive, correlational study. A convenience sample of 76 SCI/D veterans (2 women, 74 men) met inclusion criteria from a possible 123 subjects. Variables were compared between groups using nonparametric methods (Wilcoxon rank sums and chi-square). There was no significant difference in inpatient admissions or inpatient bed days of care between the two groups. The teleconsultation group had more outpatient encounters (medians 12 vs. 4, p = .007; Wilcoxon statistic = 412.5) and longer inpatient stays (medians 81 vs. 19 days/admission, p = .05; Wilcoxon statistic = 227.0) compared to the traditional care group. There was no significant difference in inpatient cost between the two groups; however, the teleconsultation group had a significantly higher median cost per outpatient encounter ($440 vs. $141, p < .0001; Wilcoxon statistic = 469.0). Although this study only looked at costs directly associated with wound management, continued research exploring the use of teleconsultation in other areas of SCI/D specialty is needed to enhance its application.

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