Alliance News2021-05-05T14:08:38-04:00

Genetics and Behavioral Health Pediatric Subspecialists Use Telehealth Most

mHealth Intelligence: Genetics and Behavioral Health Pediatric Subspecialists Use Telehealth Most

A recent study found that pediatric telehealth use was inconsistent across subspecialties, with genetics and behavioral health subspecialists using the care modality the most. Among subspecialties that used telehealth less frequently, like cardiology, orthopedics, and urology, the utilization rate was six percent to 29 percent. Among those that used telehealth at a higher rate, such as genetics, behavioral health, and pulmonology, virtual visit utilization ranged from 38.8 percent to 73 percent. Additionally, Hispanic patients and patients who spoke in a primary language other than English were less likely to participate in a telehealth visit. Researchers concluded that telehealth use among pediatric patients was inconsistent among different subspecialties, likely due to varying access levels to technology and barriers that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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April 18th, 2022|

Telemedicine expands care access for spine patients

mHealth Intelligence: Telemedicine expands care access for spine patients

study published in the Global Spine Journal found that visits conducted through telemedicine increased accessibility for spine patients with low socioeconomic status. Spine patients missed 51.3 percent of in-person appointments, significantly higher than the 24.7 percent of telemedicine appointments that patients did not attend, among other findings. Researchers concluded that telemedicine was a helpful care delivery method for spine surgeons and patients were less likely to miss virtual appointments compared to in-person appointments

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April 14th, 2022|

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Telemedicine Usage Persist During Pandemic

University of Houston: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Telemedicine Usage Persist During Pandemic

According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the rapid implementation of telemedicine didn’t bridge the gap in racial and ethnic health disparities as much as people had hoped. Researchers found that African Americans were 35 percent and Hispanics were 51 percent less likely to use telemedicine compared to White people. The study also found that individuals younger than 18 years old and older adults were less likely to have a telemedicine visit when compared to non-elderly adults, as were those covered under Medicaid or who were uninsured. The findings suggest that the promise of the positive impact of telemedicine on health care use and health outcomes could elude underserved populations.

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April 13th, 2022|

More Evidence of Mental Health Services Shifting to Telehealth

Managed Healthcare Executive: More Evidence of Mental Health Services Shifting to Telehealth

According to a Health Affairs study, people with conditions such as schizophrenia did not make the switch to telehealth as readily as people with anxiety and some other disorders. The average number of monthly encounters, in-person and via telehealth, for bipolar disorders fell by 10.6 percent in 2020 compared to the pre-pandemic years of 2016, 2017 and 2018. There was also a decline in encounters for depression (-8.2 percent) and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (-8.5 percent). Encounters for anxiety and fear-related disorders increased by 12.1 percent. These findings suggest that the volume of telehealth encounters dropped for certain conditions in part because of relatively lower telehealth uptake among these groups. Researchers concluded that telehealth may be uniquely suited to deliver mental health services, but caution about the need for strategies to meet the needs of people with “more serious mental health comorbidities.”

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April 13th, 2022|

Telehealth Added to Latest Digital-friendly NORD State Report Card

Cystic Fibrosis News Today: Telehealth Added to Latest Digital-friendly NORD State Report Card

Alliance Advisory Board Member the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has updated its State Report Card to make it more digitally friendly and added telehealth to its categories of rare disease policy issues in a nod to its increased use during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The State Report Card focused on nine policy issues affecting the rare disease community, including Medicaid financial eligibility, medical nutrition, newborn screening, prescription costs, rare disease advisory councils, step therapy, and — for the first time this year — telehealth. According to Heidi Ross, acting vice president of NORD, “Rare disease patients have appreciated having the option of telehealth and so we feel like it is important to permanently and appropriately integrate telehealth into our health care system.”

April 12th, 2022|

Assistance With Connecting to Virtual Visits Can Help Close Care Gaps

mHealth Intelligence: Assistance With Connecting to Virtual Visits Can Help Close Care Gaps

According to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, having medical assistants work with patients to connect to video visits could help narrow the digital divide. Researchers examined data on telehealth visits from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2020 and compared video visits in medical offices that used virtual rooming more often with those that did not. Of the 136,699 video visits studied, 83.6 percent involved a successful connection to the video visit. The use of virtual rooming in medical offices varied, ranging from 4.6 percent to 97.2 percent. The researchers noted that the use of a medical assistant seemed to reduce the technology gap.

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April 12th, 2022|

Stakeholders Call for Continued Access to Telehealth

mHealth Intelligence: Stakeholders Call for Continued Access to Telehealth

Researchers from the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) and KLAS believe that continuing access to telehealth will enhance the future of health care. As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more normalized, many hospitals have terminated in-person care for non-emergency visits. However, CCM states that, currently, 20 percent of all appointments are virtual. The findings within a CCM report concluded that maintaining affordable costs and managing the health of patient populations are two benefits that telehealth provides.

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April 11th, 2022|

For Third Straight Month, Telehealth Utilization Increased Nationally in January 2022

PR Newswire: For Third Straight Month, Telehealth Utilization Increased Nationally in January 2022

According to FAIR Health’s Monthly Regional Tracker, national telehealth utilization grew in January 2022. Telehealth utilization also increased in every US census region, with the greatest increase (17.5 percent) in the West. In January 2022, social work was the leading telehealth specialty nationally and, in every region, but the West, where primary care was the leading telehealth specialty, 0.1 percent ahead of social work.

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April 6th, 2022|

Rural Veterans Have Fewer ED Visits, More Psychotherapy with VA Tablets

Modern Healthcare: Rural Veterans Have Fewer ED Visits, More Psychotherapy with VA Tablets

According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, rural veterans who received tablets from the Department of Veterans Affairs had more telehealth psychotherapy appointments and fewer suicide-related emergency department visits. Researchers tracked more than 13,000 veterans with a mental health history over the first year of the pandemic, after receiving a broadband- and video-enabled tablet from the VA. The tablets enabled veterans to receive more mental health care than they normally would have, and they had a lower likelihood of having an emergency department visit for any reason, according to the study. Researchers concluded that other health systems could undertake similar projects for their rural patients to increase access to mental health care and prevent suicides.

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April 6th, 2022|

Patients and Practitioners Agree – Telehealth Is Important for Patient Access, Health Care Workforce

Patients and Practitioners Agree – Telehealth Is Important for Patient Access, Health Care Workforce

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2022

WASHINGTON – Today, the Alliance for Connected Care released a major survey of both healthcare patients and practitioners conducted by Morning Consult on the Alliance’s behalf. The poll asked patients and practitioners about their telehealth usage, telehealth experiences, their use of care across state lines, and the workforce implications of these developments.

  • A slide deck summarizing the findings can be found here.
  • An Alliance infographic of key selected data points can be found here.
  • A printable version of the infographic can be found here.

“This is the first time we have polled both patients and providers, and they are aligned on the merits of telehealth,” said Krista Drobac, Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care. “I am particularly excited to see practitioners reporting that telehealth is a tool to fight clinical burnout and to see such strong support from patients for access to care across state lines.”

“Effective access to telehealth is essential to improving America’s health care future. The findings of this research reinforce what we have experienced, which is telehealth makes health care easier for patients, and also provides flexibility and opportunities for balance for health care providers, said Brian Hasselfeld, MD, Medical Director, Digital Health and Telemedicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Regulatory and policy changes that preserve these flexibilities, and address barriers such as restrictions on care across state lines, will be important for our patients and health care workforce going forward.”

“Clinicians at Stanford have experienced firsthand the benefits of telehealth for their patients, and we are not surprised to see these results – showing that the overwhelming majority of clinicians and patients support the option to engage in telehealth across state lines,” said Christopher (Topher) Sharp, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for Stanford Health Care. “Telehealth has been a critical access point, particularly for specialty care which is in such short supply across the US.”

Notable findings of the poll:

The experience with telehealth is positive for both patients and providers

  • Almost 3 in 4 of the general population “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that patients should have the option to receive telehealth, even after the pandemic. Among recent telehealth patients, this proportion increases to 84%.
  • Three quarters of health care providers surveyed say they have provided care via telehealth at least once since the pandemic began. Of those surveyed, 91% of practitioners say telehealth has allowed for greater flexibility to meet the needs of both patients and health care practitioners.
  • 91% of health care practitioners also agree that they should continue to have the option to deliver virtual care after the pandemic.

Patients and providers both believe telehealth is increasing access to health care when needed
Telehealth has been a crucial tool to expand the capabilities of the health care system during COVID-19, yet challenges remain. Telehealth may help to address soaring behavioral health needs, meet patients in their homes, and reduce health care wait times for patients. Accordingly –

  • 96% of health care practitioners say that telehealth makes health care more accessible for patients.
  • 89% of health care practitioners say telehealth is valuable for reaching vulnerable patients.
  • 73% of practitioners believe telehealth improves the overall quality of care.
  • 66% of adults believe that telehealth will make patients more likely to seek health care when they need it.
  • 84% of recent telehealth patients say they have personally benefited from the option to receive care though telehealth.

Both patients and providers support telehealth across state lines
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all 50 states expanded the ability for practitioners to practice across state lines – expanding health care provider capacity and increasing access for patients. Strong support exists for policies to expand opportunities to give and receive care across state lines:

  • One in five practitioners surveyed have provided health care services across state lines under a waiver since the pandemic began.
  • 84% of health care practitioners support the option to provide telehealth across state lines.
  • Over 8 in 10 telehealth patients also support the option to receive telehealth services from health care practitioners across state lines, suggesting that those who have received care via telehealth in the past view their experiences favorably.
  • Health care providers expect that state actions to end broad access to care across state lines has had or will have a net negative impact on a variety of indicators:
    • 64% say reducing cross-state care will reduce patient access to health care.
    • 56% say reducing cross-state care will have a negative effect on health outcomes.

Telehealth is the key to supporting and retaining the health care workforce
Challenges with health care provider burnout are widely reported – and many health care institutions are struggling to recruit and retain the expertise needed to serve patients. Meanwhile – practitioners report that telehealth, and the ability to provide care from a range of locations when clinically appropriate, are a crucial tool to reduce these challenges. The polling found:

  • 78% of health care practitioners agree that retaining the option to provide virtual care from a location convenient to the practitioner would “significantly reduce the challenges of stress, burnout, or fatigue” facing their profession.
  • As a result, 8 in 10 practitioners say that retaining telehealth for health care practitioners would make them, personally, more likely to continue working in a role with such flexibility.
  • 93% of health care practitioners agree they should have the opportunity to provide telehealth services from their home when clinically appropriate.
  • 79% of health care practitioners and 84% of telehealth patients support allowing nurse practitioners to provide care to the full extent of their education and licensure, including through telehealth.

These findings have far-ranging implications for policymakers at both the state and federal levels. The Alliance for Connected Care looks forward to working with policymakers in these endeavors to improve the health and well being of all Americans.

April 6th, 2022|
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