While telehealth visits have provided an alternative to in-person office visits for some patients, a recent report in JAMA Network Open shows that overall primary care visits (virtual or in-person) decreased by 21.4% in 2020 compared to an average from the same period in 2018 and 2019, and these visits captured less of the critical physiological information needed to make diagnoses and design treatment plans.
Overall, the pandemic has been associated with marked reductions in the primary care assessment of cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, owing to decreased total visit volume and less frequent assessment during telemedicine visits than during office-based visits, the researchers found. To that point, they stated, “Our finding that such visits were less likely to include blood pressure or cholesterol assessments underscores the limitation of telemedicine, at least in its current form, for an important component of primary care prevention and chronic disease management.“Has Telehealth Filled the Primary Care Gap During the Pandemic?” Healthcare Innovation
Read more at hcinnovationgroup.com.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) offers a way to bridge this gap in care, allowing patients to upload readings from Bluetooth or cellular devices so that a healthcare professional can use those data to inform their decisions. To broaden access to RPM, the RPM platform must be easy to use, support a wide range of RPM devices, and work seamlessly with existing electronic health records (EHRs).