AHRQ https://www.ahrq.gov within HHS is funding the “Patient Choice of Telemedicine Encounters” project for $1,874,785. The telemedicine project was initiated last May at the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute https://www.kff.org in Oakland California with Mary Reed as Principal Investigator. The expected completion date for the study is February 2023.
Recently, video visits for broad patient populations has become feasible but as a result, there has been a wide evidence gap on the quality and safety of telemedicine use in ambulatory care. This includes missed diagnoses and screenings, medication errors, and insufficient patient monitoring.
The project is focusing on patient initiated primary care telemedicine encounters through the patient portal of an integrated healthcare delivery system. Researchers are examining the quality and safety impacts of real-time patient provider telemedicine visits and the use of interactive health IT tools.
Researchers will study a sample of patients over a five year period and specifically:
- Examine patient clinical concerns and access measures associated with the choice of a telemedicine encounter as compared to an in-person encounter
- Evaluate the quality and safety of the telemedicine encounters through recommended healthcare processes and follow-up visits
Using patient surveys and key informant interviews, researchers will examine the experiences of telemedicine users and decision makers. This will include studying technology usability, convenience, along with the positive or negative use of EHRs.
Investigators will also examine short term rates for both patient initiated telemedicine encounters and patient initiated in-person visits. The researchers will account for patient engagement, recent changes in health status, case-mix, and cost sharing for in-person visits. Also, internet access, and patient demographic and socio-economic characteristics will be considered.
By examining the early adoption of the technologies in a large and diverse patient population, the study has the potential to provide timely evidence to inform emerging telehealth policies, technology adoption decisions, and real world use by patients and clinicians.
Go to https://healthit.ahrq.gov/health-care-theme/telehealth for information on the study.