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1.
Am J Manag Care ; 28(1): 36-40, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638220

ABSTRACT

During a surge of COVID-19 cases, the majority of care delivery at a large academic medical center moved to virtual care. Due to COVID-19-associated regulatory changes, virtual care is now delivered through telephone and videoconferencing platforms. Although virtual platforms allow patients to access care while socially distancing, patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) face structural barriers to these platforms, including lack of access to technology, need for medical interpreters, unfriendly patient portals, and increased privacy concerns. Strategies for increasing access to virtual platforms and technology for patients with LEP included offering patient education in multiple languages, reducing barriers to patient portal enrollment, and addressing the technology literacy gap through the use of tablets and bilingual interns. Strategies for addressing privacy concerns for patients with LEP included developing a low-literacy script and other actions that address patient concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement and mitigate perceived risk, as well as identifying a virtual platform that meets privacy regulations and does not require a patient to download an application to their phone or computer to join. Strategies for integrating medical interpreters into virtual visits included assessing existing virtual platforms for the ability to host a third party, changing the electronic health record software (Epic) interface, and convening directors of interpreter departments at each site to ensure comprehensive system rollout. Health care organizations that rely heavily on virtual visits to provide patient care will need to take all these challenges into consideration for patients with LEP.

3.
J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis ; 30(10): 106035, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347731

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Most data on telestroke utilization come from single academic hub-and-spoke telestroke networks. Our objective was to describe characteristics of telestroke consultations among a national sample of telestroke sites on one of the most commonly used common vendor platforms, prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A commercial telestroke vendor provided data on all telestroke consultations by two specialist provider groups from 2013-2019. Kendall's τ ß nonparametric test was utilized to assess time trends. Generalized linear models were used to assess the association between hospital consult utilization and alteplase use adjusting for hospital characteristics. RESULTS: Among 67,736 telestroke consultations to 132 spoke sites over the study period, most occurred in the emergency department (90%) and for stroke indications (final clinical diagnoses: TIA 13%, ischemic stroke 39%, hemorrhagic stroke 2%, stroke mimics 46%). Stroke severity was low (median NIHSS 2, IQR 0-6). Alteplase was recommended for 23% of ischemic stroke patients. From 2013 to 2019, times from ED arrival to NIHSS, CT scan, imaging review, consult, and alteplase administration all decreased (p<0.05 for all), while times from consult start to alteplase recommendation and bolus increased (p<0.01 for both). Transfer was recommended for 8% of ischemic stroke patients. Number of patients treated with alteplase per hospital increased with increasing number of consults and hospital size and was also associated with US region in unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Longer duration of hospital participation in the network was associated with shorter hospital median door-to-needle time for alteplase delivery (39 min shorter per year, p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Among spoke sites using a commercial telestroke platform over a seven-year time horizon, times to consult start and alteplase bolus decreased over time. Similar to academic networks, duration of telestroke participation in this commercial network was associated with faster alteplase delivery, suggesting practice improves performance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fibrinolytic Agents/administration & dosage , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/trends , Remote Consultation/trends , Stroke/surgery , Thrombolytic Therapy/trends , Time-to-Treatment/trends , Tissue Plasminogen Activator/administration & dosage , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Databases, Factual , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Quality Improvement/trends , Quality Indicators, Health Care/trends , Stroke/diagnosis , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , United States
5.
J Telemed Telecare ; : 1357633X211015547, 2021 Jun 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1268164

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The increased use of telehealth to maintain ambulatory care during the COVID-19 pandemic had potential to exacerbate or diminish disparities in access to care. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe patient characteristics associated with successful transition from in-person to virtual care, and video vs audio-only participation. METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of electronic health record data from all patients with ambulatory visits from 1 October 2019-30 September 2020 in a large integrated health system in the Northeast USA. The outcome of interest was receipt of virtual care, and video vs audio-only participation. We matched home addresses with census-tract level area social vulnerability index (SVI) and Internet access. Among ambulatory care patients, we used logistic regression to identify characteristics associated with virtual participation. Among virtual participants, we identified characteristics associated with video vs audio-only visits. RESULTS: Among 1,241,313 patients, 528,542 (42.6%) were virtual participants. Relative to in-person only, virtual participants were older, more often English-proficient and with activated patient portal. Characteristics associated with virtual participation included patients with: only behavioural health visits, COVID patients, highest quartile of visit frequency, and multiple visit types. Characteristics associated with video participation (relative to audio-only) included being younger and patients with: only behavioural health visits, highest quartile of visit frequency, non-Hispanic black race, limited English proficiency and inactivated portal account. DISCUSSION: In our regional healthcare system, the transition to virtual care during COVID was vital for continued access to care, but substantial inequity remained. Without audio-only visits, access to care would have been even more limited for our most vulnerable patients.

6.
J Am Med Inform Assoc ; 28(9): 1910-1918, 2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238211

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: During the first 9 months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many emergency departments (EDs) experimented with telehealth applications to reduce virus exposure, decrease visit volume, and conserve personal protective equipment. We interviewed ED leaders who implemented telehealth programs to inform responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and future emergencies. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From September to November 2020, we conducted semi-structured interviews with ED leaders across the United States. We identified EDs with pandemic-related telehealth programs through literature review and snowball sampling. Maximum variation sampling was used to capture a range of experiences. We used standard qualitative analysis techniques, consisting of both inductive and deductive approaches to identify and characterize themes. RESULTS: We completed 15 interviews with EDs leaders in 10 states. From March to November 2020, participants experimented with more than a dozen different types of telehealth applications including tele-isolation, tele-triage, tele-consultation, virtual postdischarge assessment, acute care in the home, and tele-palliative care. Prior experience with telehealth was key for implementation of new applications. Most new telehealth applications turned out to be temporary because they were no longer needed to support the response. The leading barriers to telehealth implementation during the pandemic included technology challenges and the need for "hands-on" implementation support in the ED. CONCLUSIONS: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EDs rapidly implemented many telehealth innovations. Their experiences can inform future responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Aftercare , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Discharge , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
8.
J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open ; 2(3): e12443, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220445

ABSTRACT

Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has presented emergency departments (EDs) with many challenges to address the acute care needs of patients. Many EDs have leveraged telehealth to innovatively respond to these challenges. This review describes the landscape of telehealth initiatives in emergency care that have been described during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Methods: We conducted a comprehensive, systematic review of the literature using PubMed, supplemented by a review of the gray literature (ie, non-peer reviewed), with input from subject matter experts to identify telehealth initiatives in emergency care during coronavirus disease 2019. We categorized types of telehealth use based on purpose and user characteristics. Results: We included 27 papers from our review of the medical literature and another 8 sources from gray literature review. The vast majority of studies (32/35) were descriptive in nature, with the additional inclusion of 2 cohort studies and one randomized clinical trial. There were 5 categories of ED telehealth use during the pandemic: (1) pre-ED evaluation and screening, (2) within ED (including as a means of limiting staff and patient exposure and facilitating consultation with specialists), (3) post-ED discharge monitoring and treatment, (4) educating trainees and health care workers, and (5) coordinating resources and patient care. Conclusion: Telehealth has been used in a variety of manners during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, enabling innovation in emergency care delivery. The findings from this study can be used by institutions to consider how telehealth may address challenges in emergency care during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and beyond. Because few studies included cost data and given the variability in institutional resources, how organizations implement telehealth programs will likely vary. Future work should further explore barriers and facilitators of innovation, and the impact on care delivery and patient outcomes.

9.
Neuro Oncol ; 23(8): 1252-1260, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169684

ABSTRACT

On July 24, 2020, a workshop sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Society was held on innovating brain tumor clinical trials based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 experience. Various stakeholders from the brain tumor community participated including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academic and community clinicians, researchers, industry, clinical research organizations, patients and patient advocates, and representatives from the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the National Cancer Institute. This report summarizes the workshop and proposes ways to incorporate lessons learned from COVID-19 to brain tumor clinical trials including the increased use of telemedicine and decentralized trial models as opportunities for practical innovation with potential long-term impact on clinical trial design and implementation.


Subject(s)
Brain Neoplasms , COVID-19 , Brain Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , National Cancer Institute (U.S.) , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration
12.
Health Aff (Millwood) ; 40(3): 487-495, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1115315

ABSTRACT

Telehealth services that allow remote communication between the patient and the clinical team are an emerging part of care delivery. Given language barriers, patients with limited English proficiency present a unique set of challenges in integrating telehealth and ensuring equity. Using data from 84,419 respondents in the 2015-18 California Health Interview Survey, we assessed the association between limited English proficiency and telehealth use (telephone and video visits) and evaluated the impact of telehealth use on health care access and use. We found that patients with limited English proficiency had lower rates of telehealth use (4.8 percent versus 12.3 percent) compared with proficient English speakers. In weighted multivariable logistic regression, patients with limited English proficiency still had about half the odds of using telehealth. Telehealth use was associated with increased emergency department use for all patients. This study suggests that policy makers and clinicians must focus on limited English proficiency as an important dimension to promote telehealth equity and decrease digital divides.


Subject(s)
Limited English Proficiency , Telemedicine , California , Communication Barriers , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , Language
13.
Stroke ; 52(1): 351-355, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985741

ABSTRACT

The year 2020 has undoubtedly made Digital Health a necessity and no longer an exception. Many technological advances that seemed futuristic became a reality in a few months due to the pandemic's needs. Stroke was one of the diseases that most benefited from the digital health revolution. Due to the need for immediate care and a shortage of neurologists worldwide, telestroke has revolutionized the acute care of cerebrovascular diseases in many areas based on strong scientific evidence. In this brief article, we have tried to summarize all we have experienced in 2020, the year which irreversibly transformed the practice of medicine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neurology/methods , Stroke , Telemedicine/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Healthc (Amst) ; 8(4): 100493, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893783

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for the U.S. healthcare system due to the staggering mismatch between healthcare system capacity and patient demand. The healthcare industry has been a relatively slow adopter of digital innovation due to the conventional belief that humans need to be at the center of healthcare delivery tasks. However, in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic, artificial intelligence (AI) may be used to carry out specific tasks such as pre-hospital triage and enable clinicians to deliver care at scale. Recognizing that the majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not require hospitalization, Partners HealthCare (now Mass General Brigham) implemented a digitally-automated pre-hospital triage solution to direct patients to the appropriate care setting before they showed up at the emergency department and clinics, which would otherwise consume resources, expose other patients and staff to potential viral transmission, and further exacerbate supply-and-demand mismatching. Although the use of AI has been well-established in other industries to optimize supply and demand matching, the introduction of AI to perform tasks remotely that were traditionally performed in-person by clinical staff represents a significant milestone in healthcare operations strategy.


Subject(s)
Artificial Intelligence , COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care, Integrated/organization & administration , Triage/methods , Clinical Decision-Making/methods , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Massachusetts , Pandemics , Population Health Management
16.
NPJ Digit Med ; 3: 64, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-164590

ABSTRACT

Digital health, virtual care, telehealth, and telemedicine are all terms often used interchangeably to refer to the practice of care delivered from a distance. Because virtual care collapses the barriers of time and distance, it is ideal for providing care that is patient-centered, lower cost, more convenient and at greater productivity. All these factors make virtual care tools indispensable elements in the COVID19 response. In this perspective, we offer implementation guidance and policy insights relevant to the use of virtual care tools to meet the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic.

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