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Telehealth Boosts Self-Efficacy, Health Behaviors for Chronically Ill

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HealthSPot1Telehealth chronic disease self-management programs can lead to improvements in self-efficacy, health behaviors, and health status for chronically ill patients, according to research published online ahead of print in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.

For the study, 213 participants participated in the chronic disease self-management program (CDSMP) at a Telemedicine Network studio in Ontario, Canada from September 2007 to June 2008.

The program included six weekly sessions, with baseline and four-month follow-up surveys administered to assess self-efficacy beliefs, health behaviors and health status information.

Participants were split up between a single and multi-site delivery model.

According to the study's authors, delivery of the program via telehealth would address three barriers:

•The need for program leaders in every community.

•The need for leaders to travel long distances to communities, particularly remote areas without leaders.

•The need for a sufficient number of participants to form a face-to-face group in each community.

Results showed significant improvements from baseline to follow-up for self-efficacy, exercise behavior, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, role function, psychological well-being, energy, health distress and self-rated health.

The study noted that there was no difference in results for the single and multi-site groups.

"Improvements in self-efficacy, health status, and health behaviors were equally effective in single- and multi-site groups," the authors said.

"Access to self-management programs could be greatly increased with telehealth using single and multi-site groups in rural and remote communities."

Synchronous telehealth for cardiovascular disease patients was shown to help reduce costs, admission rates and length of stay, according to research published last week in the Journal of the Medical Internet Research.

Additionally, research published in the April edition of Telemedicine and e-Health determined that telehealth increased patient adherence to hypertension treatment.

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