TELEPROM-G: A Study Evaluating Access and Care Delivery of Telehealth Services Among Community-Based Seniors

This study used a tablet device and applications to improve mental health care, and examined how well they worked for the older adult population.

Possible Research Results

Anticipated findings: We anticipate that (1) Older adults will be able to communicate faster with their care-workers, (2) care-workers will have timely information about their patients, (3) care-workers will be able to respond quicker to patient difficulties and (4) emergency room (ER) visits and hospital admissions will be reduced.

Impact of findingsIf successful, TELEPROM-G will identify health concerns more quickly, resulting in timely health care response for older frail adults. This may ultimately prevent or reduce the number of ED visits leading to improved quality of care, patient health and reduced health service expenditure. This study will allow policy makers to better understand the different aspects of this health technology (i.e. reminders, teleconferencing capabilities, technology comfort levels, etc.) leading to faster and efficient future system-wide implementation.

About the Project

The number of older people in Canada is growing. Many have depressive symptoms and other physical health problems, which contribute to frailty. This project tested a new system (TELEPROM-G) developed by a Canadian health informatics company (InputHealth).

Tablet devices and assessment tools allowed people to self-assess how they were doing from the comfort of their home. They received reminders about important activities (e.g. medications) and used the tablets to communicate with their health care-workers in “real-time” by video.

Project Team

Principal Investigator:

Cheryl Forchuk, PhD, RN — Lawson Health Research Institute


Richard Booth, PhD — Western University

Amer Burhan, MBChB, MSc, FRCPC — Western University and Parkwood Institute

Mary Chambers, PhD — Kingston University & St. George’s University of London

Alastair Flint, MD — University Health Network

Marnin Heisel, PhD — Western University

Jeffrey Hoch, PhD — Centre for Excellence in Economic Analysis, St. Michael’s Hospital

Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, PhD — Centre for Excellence in Economic Analysis, St. Michael’s Hospital

Maxine Lewis, MBBCh, MMedSc, MRCPSYCH (U.K.) — St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton

Dan Lizotte, PhD — Western University

Karl Looper, MD, MSc, FRCPC — Jewish General Hospital

Fiona Nolan, PhD — University College London

Jeffrey Reiss, MD, FRCPC, DABPN, FCPA, DFAPA — Western University

Soham Rej, MD, MSc, FRCPC — Jewish General Hospital

Abraham Rudnick, MD, PhD — McMaster University

Puneet Seth, BSc, MD, CCFP — Woodstock General Hospital

Akshya Vasudev, MBBS, MD, MRCP — Western University

Project Contact: Dr. Cheryl Forchuk —

CAT 2015-TG1

Key words: seniors; mental health care; health technology; community-based care; frailty; depression; tablet devices

Rationale, Hypothesis, Objectives & Research Plan

Rationale: Improved monitoring through technology (tablets) will lead to a quicker response to the health needs of these older adults and prevent crises. Previous research has mostly looked at developing technology for use but not on using technology in practice. To best support the older population research on technology must look at its practical use.

Hypothesis: Tablet devices with TELPROM- G will: (1) improve the day-to-day care of older adults with depressive symptoms and (2) reduce emergency situations requiring emergency room (ER) visits or hospital

Objectives: (1) Examine how well the tablet and health record work for the older adult population and (2) identify further changes to the TELEPROM-G and other tablet features.

Research plan: This study will test our approach and methods before applying to conduct a larger study across multiple sites. A maximum of 15 health-care workers and 30 older adults will use this technology. Older adults will be interviewed as individuals and in groups about the technology. This will help the researchers know how the technology has helped or not helped them. The health care-workers will also be interviewed.