AHRQ https://www.ahrq.gov has awarded MedStar Health https://www.medstarhealth.org a nearly $1 million grant to create and advance a telehealth research collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare https://intermountainhealthcare.org and Stanford Health Care https://stanfordhealthcare.org.
The two year effort will establish one of the largest COVID-19 primary care data sharing and analysis alliances, including three systems that previously delivered 4.5 primary care appointments in a year.
COVID-19 resulted in a historic shift in the way primary care services are delivered, leading to the rapid adoption of a variety of ways for patients to seek care virtually. Virtual care can be obtained via telehealth video-based and phone based visits, text messages, and patient portal messages.
Nationally, it is unclear whether different patient subpopulations can access primary care during the pandemic and which avenues are being used by individuals accessing care. In response, the team will examine how different subpopulations obtained care during COVID-19, the barriers and facilitators to accessing care, and if and how primary care evolves surrounding the pandemic by following patients’ use of primary care avenues over time.
The Collaboration anticipates delivering information in journal publications, at policy briefings, and provide outreach to stakeholders. These stakeholders may include patients, providers, policymakers, community groups, trade and research organizations, etc. to further explore and implement meaningful research questions and resources.
The team working on the project will be co-led by Ethan Booker, MD, MedStar Health Co-PI, Medical director of MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center. MedStar e-Visit, which is Med Star Health’s telehealth and human factors teams will work with:
- The Intermountain Healthcare site co-PIs, Lory Maddox, PhD, RN and Senior Clinical Outcomes Researcher for Intermountain Connect, and Kerry Palakansis, Executive Director for Connect Care
- The Stanford University School of Medicine Kevin Schulman MD, Director of Industry Partnerships and Education for the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC).
“As the initial surges of COVID-19 have massively disrupted traditional modes of care delivery, telehealth has helped to effectively bridge many potential gaps in care especially in primary care. We want to ensure that is the case in as many populations as possible,” according to Dr. Booker.
He also said, “Given the exponential growth of telehealth over this period, we now have an enormous amount of data that can help us inform policy and better look to the future. It will be a far greater opportunity for all if we are able to share, expand, and apply what we have learned within the U.S health system more broadly.”