Telehealth and Medicine Today <p><strong>Telehealth and Medicine Today (TMT</strong>) is a gold open access international peer reviewed journal examining the value of telehealth and clinical automation, its use and scalable developments, business process guidance, market research and the economic impact of digital health innovations in an evolving virtual health technology sector.</p> Partners in Digital Health en-US Telehealth and Medicine Today 2471-6960 <p>Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to <em>Telehealth and Medicine Today (TMT).</em></p> <p><em>TMT is published under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License</a>. </em></p> <p> </p> The Expanding Divide between Videoconferencing and Enterprise-Grade Virtual Care Platforms for Healthcare Systems <p>COVID19’s silver lining in healthcare technology ushered in a massive adoption of virtual care by health systems, clinicians, and patients. In the post pandemic world, as consumer/patient adoption for digital health access exponential continues to grow—Health systems, Insurers, and clinicians all need re-evaluate strategies create larger budgets, and commitments towards Digital health. The growth and rapid adoption seen during the early months of the pandemic was stimulated by removal of legislative, financial and reimbursement barriers. Healthcare systems must carefully and strategically evaluate secure, purpose built, and strategic technological investment.</p> Shayan Vyas Copyright (c) 2021 Shayan Vyas 2021-08-04 2021-08-04 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.274 Identification of Gaps in Graduate Medical Education Telehealth Training <p>No abstract available.</p> Matthew Sakumoto Ryan Jelinek Aditi U. Joshi Copyright (c) 2021 Matthew Sakumoto, Ryan Jelinek, Aditi Joshi 2021-07-30 2021-07-30 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.276 Maximizing VA remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 response <p><strong>Objective</strong>: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has one of the largest remote patient monitoring programs in the United States and is supported by an enterprise-wide infrastructure for providers, clinicians, staff, Veterans, and caregivers. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, however, presented new challenges: a sudden need to provide large-scale remote monitoring for a new disease that did not yet have a disease management protocol (DMP). Veterans Health Administration (VHA) needed to be ready within weeks to provide this daily monitoring for hundreds – even thousands – of Veterans.</p> <p><strong>Methods</strong>: The US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Connected Care already had a comprehensive infrastructure in place for its remote patient monitoring – Home Telehealth (RPM – HT) program. Connected Care activated and built on this infrastructure to support providers, clinicians, and staff in their efforts to rapidly bring RPM – HT to Veterans across the nation when they had COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. To do this, Connected Care activated an emergency management plan, rapidly developed a new COVID-19-specific DMP, added weekend monitoring, and procured critically needed monitoring supplies, such as thermometers and pulse oximeters. The strong foundation for Connected Care allowed for innovation and flexibility, such as the training of non-RPM – HT staff in RPM – HT processes, RPM – HT enrollment within acute care settings, and new strategic partnerships.</p> <p><strong>Outcomes</strong>: More than 23,500 Veterans were enrolled for COVID-19-related monitoring from March 2020 to May 2021. During December 2020 and January 2021, the number of Veterans being monitored in a single day topped 2,000. Even with this rapid buildup, patient satisfaction levels remained at about 90% in numerous categories. In addition, the percentage of Veterans admitted to Veterans Administration (VA) facilities while on COVID-19-related home monitoring has been extremely low, at 4%, the monitoring system has been a potential indicator in enabling Veterans who did have the virus to convalesce at home. Further study is needed to determine the impact RPM – HT enrollment for COVID-19 care had on the need for inpatient care.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong>: The Office of Connected Care’s established, enterprise-wide RPM – HT business, clinical, and technical infrastructure enabled VHA to enter the COVID-19 public health emergency well-positioned for the rapid deployment and growth of at-home and mobile monitoring. As the COVID-19 emergency made at-home management of Veterans increasingly important, the national RPM – HT program successfully adapted its practices to meet the needs of Veterans, caregivers, and staff.</p> Catherine Buck Rita F. Kobb Ron Sandreth Lisa Alexander Sherron Olliff Carol Westfall Carla L. Anderson A. Laurie Graaff Joseph Giovannucci Aszur Rollins Copyright (c) 2021 Catherine Buck, Rita Kobb, Ron Sandreth, Lisa Alexander, Sherron Olliff, Carla Anderson, Carol Westfall, Laurie Graaff, Joseph Giovannucci, Aszur Rollins 2021-07-30 2021-07-30 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.281 A COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study—Exploring One Year of Telehealth Experimentation <p><strong>Importance:</strong>&nbsp; This three-part study characterizes the widespread implementation of telehealth during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving us insight into the role of telehealth as we enter a stage of “new normal” healthcare delivery in the U.S.</p> <p><strong>Objective:</strong> The COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study was designed to describe the natural experiment of telehealth adoption during the pandemic.&nbsp; Using a large claims data stream and surveys of providers and patients, we studied telehealth in all 50 states to inform healthcare leaders.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Design, Setting, Participants:</strong> In March 2020, the MITRE Corporation and Mayo Clinic founded the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition (C19HCC), to respond to the pandemic. We report trends using a dataset of over 2 billion healthcare claims covering over 50% of private insurance activity in the U.S. (January 2019-December 2020), along with key elements from our provider survey (July-August 2020) and patient survey (November 2020 - February 2021).</p> <p><strong>Main Outcomes and Measures:</strong> There was rapid and widespread adoption of telehealth in Spring 2020 with over 12 million telehealth claims in April 2020, accounting for 49.4% of total health care claims. Providers and patients expressed high levels of satisfaction with telehealth. 75% of providers indicated that telehealth enabled them to provide quality care.&nbsp; 84% of patients agreed that quality of their telehealth visit was good.</p> <p><strong>Results:</strong> Peak levels of telehealth use varied widely among states ranging from 74.9% in Massachusetts to 25.4% in Mississippi.&nbsp; Every clinical discipline saw a steep rise with the largest claims volume in behavioral health. Provision of care by out-of-state provider was common at 6.5% (October-December 2020). Providers reported multiple modalities of telehealth care delivery.&nbsp; 74% of patients indicated they will use telehealth services in the future.</p> <p><strong>Conclusions and Relevance:</strong> Innovation shown by providers and patients during this period of rapid telehealth expansion constitutes a great natural experiment in care delivery with evidence supporting widespread clinical adoption and satisfaction on the part of both patients and clinicians. The authors encourage continued broad access to telehealth over the next 12 months to allow telehealth best practices to emerge, creating a more effective and resilient system of care delivery.</p> Francis X. Campion Stephen Ommen Helayne Sweet Nilay Shah Barbra Rabson Nick Dougherty Jennifer Goldsack Peter Sylvester Karen Jones Aaron Burgman Nathalie McIntosh Lindsey Sangaralingham David Jiang Jeffrey McGinn Ricardo Rojas Tim Suther Brian Anderson John Halamka Copyright (c) 2021 Francis Campion, Stephen Ommen, Helayne Sweet, Nilay Shah, Barbra Rabson, Nick Dougherty, Jennifer Goldsack, Peter Sylvester, Karen Jones, Aaron Burgman, Nathalie McIntosh, Lindsey Sangaralingham, David Jiang, Jeffrey McGinn, Ricardo Rojas, Tim Suther, Brian Anderson, John Halamka, 2021-07-30 2021-07-30 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.280 Healthcare Professionals and Telehealth Usability during COVID-19 <p><strong>Objective</strong>: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many other health providers needed to rapidly adopt telehealth services to ensure continuity of patient care, without the opportunity to extensively evaluate the usability of the adopted technology. Therefore, this study aims to examine health professionals’ telehealth usability during COVID-19 in Florida.</p> <p><strong>Design</strong>: This cross-sectional study employed the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ) to licensed healthcare providers in Florida in June 2020.</p> <p><strong>Setting and Participants</strong>: A total of 399,660 selected health professionals with Florida licensure were recruited from open-access Florida healthcare to participate in a Qualtrics web-based survey. A total of 1,868 health professionals completed the survey. Multiple linear and mixed regression models were applied to analyze the overall and subdomain scores from TUQ.</p> <p><strong>Main Outcome Measures</strong>: Telehealth usability.</p> <p><strong>Results</strong>: The analysis of the overall TUQ score showed younger, female healthcare professionals, and participants who reported an increase in telehealth usage during pandemic had a significantly higher overall TUQ score. Compared with the score from physicians and nurses, the scores from the mental health group and social work group were significantly higher, while the score rehabilitation group was significantly lower. Analysis of the subdomain scores was consistent with the overall scores.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong>: The findings from this study indicate that the health professionals’ telehealth usability is related to age, gender, and the change of telehealth usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. While pandemics represent only one possible impetus for the healthcare system to swiftly switch to telehealth platforms, each profession should consider providing adequate resources to accommodate the need for change.</p> Jing Xu Hanadi Y. Hamadi Kristen K. Hicks-Roof Robert J. Zeglin Chloe E. Bailey Mei Zhao Copyright (c) 2021 Jasper Xu, Hanadi Hamadi, Kristen Hicks-Roof, Robert Zeglin, Chloe Bailey, Mei Zhao 2021-07-30 2021-07-30 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.270 Reducing Unnecessary Antibiotic Treatment for Acute Bronchitis Using Real-Time, Text-Based Primary Care <p><strong>Objective</strong>: Reducing antibiotic overuse is a point of emphasis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is cited as a key driver of antibiotic resistance. Despite this, both telemedicine and traditional in-person medical care struggle to meet national guidelines. This study evaluates antibiotic prescribing practices at 98point6, a Seattle-based provider of real-time, text-based primary care. This paper reviews a novel combination of machine learning with a physician-led virtual platform and smartphone interface to exceed published benchmarks for the avoidance of antibiotics in the treatment of bronchitis.</p> <p><strong>Design</strong>: This retrospective cohort study looks at patients ages 18–64 who were evaluated and treated using real-time, text-based care. Cases in which patients were diagnosed with “acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis” between December 1, 2019 and November 30, 2020 were analyzed. Visits were categorized by whether systemic antibiotics were or were not given.</p> <p><strong>Setting</strong>: This telemedicine provider provides service to patients ages 1 and above in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The cohort that is present was drawn from that population.</p> <p><strong>Participants</strong>: A total of 1,238 consecutive patients ages 18–64 who presented for medical care during the time period.</p> <p><strong>Interventions</strong>: This is a retrospective cohort. No direct intervention was undertaken. Patients received standard care for the evaluation and treatment of upper respiratory symptoms.</p> <p><strong>Main Outcome Measures</strong>: The results are presented as descriptive statistics with demographic information and compared to published reports of appropriate antibiotic use for the treatment of bronchitis.</p> <p><strong>Results</strong>: Of the 1,238 visits with a bronchitis/bronchiolitis diagnosis, 99 (8.0%) were treated with prescribed systemic antibiotics. The rate of antibiotic avoidance of 92.0% compares favorably with published benchmarks from the National Committee for Quality Assurance and is significantly lower than rates in previously published samples for telemedicine, primary care, and urgent care.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong>: Real-time text-based care resulted in a high rate of adherence to the established standard for the treatment of bronchitis, greatly exceeding benchmarks and published results from both telemedicine and in-person medical practice.</p> David McCune James Pellegrin Anshul Sachdeva Roxana Cham Jessica Sollaccio Sandra Giramahoro Coyne Mark Stewart Copyright (c) 2021 David McCune, James Pellegrin, Anshul Sachdeva, Roxana Cham, jessica Sollaccio, Sandra Giramahoro Coyne, Mark Stewart 2021-07-30 2021-07-30 6 3 10.30953/tmt.v6.272