Study Finds Post-Pandemic Telehealth Addresses Shortcomings In Healthcare Delivery

A study recently published by athenahealth has found that telehealth is addressing shortcomings in delivering healthcare after evolving from COVID-19 pandemic visit replacement methods. By using the data of 2,000 U.S. adults between June and July, 2022, from a Dynata survey and athenahealth’s EHR data from January 1, 2019, to April 30, 2022, the researchers were able to determine that telehealth has now been incorporated across the health sector. 

“Our data shows that after the height of the pandemic, many physicians continue to rely on telehealth, as they see the tremendous value it can provide,” stated athenahealth’s vice president of research and editorial strategy Jessica Sweeney-Platt. 

The survey found that telehealth use is particularly frequent in chronic condition treatment. According to the study, approximately 24 percent of those surveyed stated that their condition did not necessitate an in-person visit. 23 percent said their telehealth visits were planned check-ins linked to chronic conditions and 9 percent said they also utilized telehealth for unplanned treatment for their conditions. The data also indicated that telehealth is addressing the demand for proactive healthcare as respondents with chronic conditions reported utilizing it instead of in-person visits to help manage their condition during the pandemic. 

In addition, telehealth has improved patients’ desire to seek mental healthcare as 25 percent of survey participants stated they opted for telehealth sessions to treat new mental health concerns. A further 23 percent of respondents said that increased access to telehealth has made them more inclined to seek mental healthcare. The results also indicated gender-based use trends. The study’s analysis of the EHR data revealed that in 2021, male providers’ probabilities of performing a telehealth visit were 24% lower than those of their female colleagues. Patient telehealth adoption was also impacted by the gender of the provider. In comparison to those who engaged with a female provider, individuals who worked with a single male provider had 60 percent lower likelihood of adoption.

“Previous research has shown that female clinicians tend to spend more time with patients, which could further explain higher provider adoption of telehealth among females compared to males, with female providers using telehealth as an additional tool for connecting with patients,” said Sweeney-Platt.