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1.
West J Emerg Med ; 22(6): 1240-1252, 2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1761085

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been shown to increase levels of psychological distress among healthcare workers. Little is known, however, about specific positive and negative individual and organizational factors that affect the mental health of emergency physicians (EP) during COVID-19. Our objective was to assess these factors in a broad geographic sample of EPs in the United States. METHODS: We conducted an electronic, prospective, cross-sectional national survey of EPs from October 6-December 29, 2020. Measures assessed negative mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and insomnia), positive work-related outcomes, and strategies used to cope with COVID-19. After preliminary analyses and internal reliability testing, we performed four separate three-stage hierarchical multiple regression analyses to examine individual and organizational predictive factors for psychological distress. RESULTS: Response rate was 50%, with 259 EPs completing the survey from 11 different sites. Overall, 85% of respondents reported negative psychological effects due to COVID-19. Participants reported feeling more stressed (31%), lonelier (26%), more anxious (25%), more irritable (24%) and sadder (17.5%). Prevalence of mental health conditions was 17% for depression, 13% for anxiety, 7.5% for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 18% for insomnia. Regular exercise decreased from 69% to 56%, while daily alcohol use increased from 8% to 15%. Coping strategies of behavioral disengagement, self-blame, and venting were significant predictors of psychological distress, while humor and positive reframing were negatively associated with psychological distress. CONCLUSION: Emergency physicians have experienced high levels of psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those using avoidant coping strategies were most likely to experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD, while humor and positive reframing were effective coping strategies.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19/psychology , Physicians/psychology , Psychological Distress , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology
3.
Health Aff (Millwood) ; 41(3): 350-359, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731609

ABSTRACT

In the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act, passed as part of a budget omnibus in 2018, Congress permanently expanded Medicare payment for telemedicine consultations for acute stroke ("telestroke") from delivery only in rural areas to delivery in both urban and rural areas, effective January 1, 2019. Using a controlled time-series analysis, we found that one year after FAST Act implementation, billing for Medicare telestroke increased substantially in emergency departments at both directly affected urban hospitals and indirectly affected rural hospitals. However, at that time only a minority of hospitals with known telestroke capacity had ever billed Medicare for that service, and there was substantial billing inconsistent with Medicare requirements. As Congress considers options for Medicare telemedicine payment after the COVID-19 pandemic, our findings, which are consistent with confusion among providers regarding telemedicine billing requirements, suggest that simplified payment rules would help ensure that expanded reimbursement achieves its intended impact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Stroke , Telemedicine , Aged , Hospitals, Rural , Humans , Medicare , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/diagnosis , Stroke/therapy , United States
5.
J Telemed Telecare ; : 1357633X211070725, 2022 Jan 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648418

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: With the rapid increase in telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns have been raised about the potential for exacerbating existing healthcare disparities in marginalized populations. While eliminating barriers such as transportation and time constraints, telehealth may introduce barriers related to technology access. With little known about the patient experience accessing telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study seeks to understand the barriers and facilitators to telehealth use as well as interventions that may address them. METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews with parents of pediatric patients of a primary care clinic in a diverse community during the study period of March-May 2021. The interviews explored barriers and facilitators to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews were balanced across language (Spanish and English) as well as across visit type (in-person vs. telehealth). Recruitment, collection of demographic information, and interviews were conducted by telephone. The conversations were recorded and transcribed. Once thematic saturation was achieved, the data were analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. RESULTS: Of the 33 participants, 17 (52%) spoke English and 16 (48%) spoke Spanish. A total of 17 (52%) had experienced a telehealth encounter as their first visit during the study period while 16 (48%) had an in-person visit. Five themes were identified: (1) a recognition of differences in technological knowledge and access, (2) situational preferences for telehealth versus in-person visits, (3) avoidance of COVID-19 exposure, (4) convenience, and (5) change over time. English-speaking patients expressed greater ease with and a preference for telehealth, while Spanish-speaking participants expressed more technological difficulty with telehealth and a preference for in-person visits. Suggested interventions included informational tutorials such as videos before the visit, technical support, and providing families with technological devices. CONCLUSION: In this study, we examined patient and family perspectives on pediatric telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementation of the suggested interventions to address barriers to telehealth use is essential to prevent further exacerbation of health disparities already experienced by marginalized populations.

7.
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
8.
Acad Emerg Med ; 28(12): 1452-1474, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1304069

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Telehealth has the potential to significantly change the specialty of emergency medicine (EM) and has rapidly expanded in EM during the COVID pandemic; however, it is unclear how EM should intersect with telehealth. The field lacks a unified research agenda with priorities for scientific questions on telehealth in EM. METHODS: Through the 2020 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine's annual consensus conference, experts in EM and telehealth created a research agenda for the topic. The multiyear process used a modified Delphi technique to develop research questions related to telehealth in EM. Research questions were excluded from the final research agenda if they did not meet a threshold of at least 80% of votes indicating "important" or "very important." RESULTS: Round 1 of voting included 94 research questions, expanded to 103 questions in round 2 and refined to 36 questions for the final vote. Consensus occurred with a final set of 24 important research questions spanning five breakout group topics. Each breakout group domain was represented in the final set of questions. Examples of the questions include: "Among underserved populations, what are mechanisms by which disparities in emergency care delivery may be exacerbated or ameliorated by telehealth" (health care access) and "In what situations should the quality and safety of telehealth be compared to in-person care and in what situations should it be compared to no care" (quality and safety). CONCLUSION: The primary finding from the process was the breadth of gaps in the evidence for telehealth in EM and telehealth in general. Our consensus process identified priority research questions for the use of and evaluation of telehealth in EM to fill the current knowledge gaps. Support should be provided to answer the research questions to guide the evidenced-based development of telehealth in EM.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Medicine , Telemedicine , Consensus , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Am J Med ; 134(10): 1247-1251, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300607

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Masking, which is known to decrease the transmission of respiratory viruses, was not widely practiced in the United States until the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This provides a natural experiment to determine whether the percentage of community masking was associated with decreases in emergency department (ED) visits due to non-COVID viral illnesses (NCVIs) and related respiratory conditions. METHODS: In this observational study of ED encounters in a 11-hospital system in Maryland during 2019-2020, year-on-year ratios for all complaints were calculated to account for "lockdowns" and the global drop in ED visits due to the pandemic. Encounters for specific complaints were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, version 10. Encounters with a positive COVID test were excluded. Linear regression was used to determine the association of publicly available masking data with ED visits for NCVI and exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), after adjusting for patient age, sex, and medical history. RESULTS: There were 285,967 and 252,598 ED visits across the hospital system in 2019 and 2020, respectively. There was a trend toward an association between the year-on-year ratio for all ED visits and the Maryland stay-at-home order (parameter estimate = -0.0804, P = .10). A 10% percent increase in the prevalence of community masking was associated with a 17.0%, 8.8%, and 9.4% decrease in ED visits for NCVI and exacerbations of asthma exacerbations and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respectively (P < .001 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the prevalence of masking is associated with a decrease in ED visits for viral illnesses and exacerbations of asthma and COPD. These findings may be valuable for future public health responses, particularly in future pandemics with respiratory transmission or in severe influenza seasons.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Masks , Respiratory Tract Diseases/epidemiology , Virus Diseases/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Maryland/epidemiology , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
10.
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.

11.
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
12.
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.

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