Two studies published in September New England Journal of Medicine concluded that telemedicine was effective and did not reduce access to specialized medical care. One of them analyzed data before and during the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19; the other examined mental health services for nursing homes in a hybrid model with telemedicine.
The myths that dissipated, according to the researchers, were: telemedicine would reduce access to care for the most vulnerable patients and those without access to digital services; that the practice would encourage the overuse of telemedicine and would not be an effective way to deliver telemedicine healthcare.
According to Kathleen Fear, lead author of the first paper, “The message for patients is clear and reassuring: telemedicine is an effective and efficient way to receive many types of healthcare.”
“Especially for those with transportation problems, this is a service that really fills a gap and basically doesn’t compromise the quality of care patients receive.”
Fear noted that not only were the most vulnerable patients left behind, there was no evidence of worse outcomes, increased costs, or overuse of the care model.
The team compared data from July to December 2020 with pre-pandemic data from July to December 2019, following the first COVID-19 outbreak in the US. The analysis was done by examining patient demographics, outcomes, provider usage, visits completed, and more.
The second study for the elderly and with a mixed care model – face-to-face and online – concluded that the program improved access to mental health services and reduced the number of residents needing antipsychotic medication.
The study was conducted in the United States, a country with better internet infrastructure and greater access to electronic devices than Brazil. Therefore, the data cannot be directly applied here.
NEJM – http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/CAT.22.0086.
NEJM – https://doi.org/10.1056/CAT.22.0196.
Source: Tec Mundo
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