An Sist Sanit Navar 36:429-339, Published in Spanish.
Centro de Salud Astrabudua, Erandio, Spain
BACKGROUND: The public telecare service in the Basque Autonomous Community (betiON) is a service offered by the Department of Employment and Social Policy of the Basque Government and offers telephone support to elderly and disabled populations, providing communication with an assistance centre. This connection with health care devices makes it possible to implement shared information systems with health and social data, which enable a characterization of the population attended to and the development of integrated models for health and social provision.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the distribution of chronic diseases and multimorbidity among users of betiON, to estimate the cost of their health care and to compare these indicators with those of the general population.
METHODS: We extracted information from betiON and public healthcare databases. We characterized the telecare population above 65 years (N = 23.742) and compared it with the total population in the Basque Autonomous Community (N = 2.262.707) with respect to variables in demography socio-economic burden, costs and ambulatory care conditions.
RESULTS: In the telecare population, the average age is 83 years, 80% are women, 55.1% live alone and reside in poorer neighbourhoods. Forty-two point five per cent of males and 36.5% of women are affected by five or more chronic conditions, averaging 4.06 pathologies per person. They also show higher healthcare costs than the general population.
CONCLUSIONS: Telecare users have a higher disease burden, greater need for healthcare and unfavourable social conditions. Telecare provides an opportunity for innovation and intervention, through the coordination of social and healthcare services.
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