HealthDay News — Telemedicine use improved significantly for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, with decrease use in communities with greater prices of poverty, according to a study published in the February situation of Health Affairs.
Sadiq Y. Patel, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined variation in total outpatient visits and telemedicine use across patient demographics, specialties, and circumstances amongst 16.7 million commercially insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees from January to June 2020.
The researchers identified that 30.1 % of all visits for the duration of the pandemic have been supplied by way of telemedicine, and there was a 23-fold boost in the weekly quantity of visits compared with the prepandemic period. Communities with greater prices of poverty had decrease telemedicine use (31.9 versus 27.9 % for lowest versus highest quartiles of poverty price). Across specialties, there was variation in the use of any telemedicine for the duration of the pandemic, from 68 to 9 % for endocrinologists and ophthalmologists, respectively. Across widespread circumstances, there was variation noted in the percentage of visits supplied by way of telemedicine for the duration of the pandemic, from 53 to 3 % for depression and glaucoma, respectively. For widespread circumstances, greater prices of telemedicine use have been linked with smaller sized decreases in total weekly visits for the duration of the pandemic.
“Telemedicine use during COVID-19 varied across different clinical settings and patient populations, with lower use found among insurance enrollees in disadvantaged areas,” the authors create. “Future research is needed to understand the persistence of these trends over longer periods and the impact of these changes on patients’ health.”