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Specialized Telehealth Pilot Successful in Reducing Hospital Visits & Improving Care

The use of technology has increased significantly in the past 10 years. People with developmental disabilities and their families are embracing the benefits of this technology in many ways, including virtual appointments through a telehealth pilot that is specialized for people with developmental disabilities.

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) continues to partner with StationMD on this pilot initiative to provide no-cost, 24/7 telehealth and emergency medical services to people with developmental disabilities. Participants in the pilot project and their families are finding it to be very impactful.  

As the guardian of her sister Karyn, Kim appreciates that StationMD reduces unnecessary visits to the emergency room and the need for frequent transportation assistance. StationMD communicates with her and sends her reports from the calls so she is aware of what is going on with her sister when she is unable to attend appointments.  

Kim shared, “A lot of things can be addressed by StationMD. You know when a person with disabilities has to change their routine and go to an emergency room or hospital, they often go through a lot of unnecessary tests.” 

Karyn has used the telehealth service almost a dozen times and about half of them have helped her avoid hospital visits and the stress that accompanies those visits. In September, Karyn tested positive for COVID-19 and the providers, through StationMD, were able to assess her health and send her medications and instructions at home.  

Kim said it best explaining, “People need to try it. If it doesn’t work for them its okay, but to me its another tool for the individual and the team to use to help.” 

Specialized telehealth is another way technology is changing the lives of people with developmental disabilities. The pilot has been successful in improving care, reducing trips to the hospital, and helping people where they are. It is one tool in a shed of resources for people with developmental disabilities and their team to help them live their best lives.  

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