Telemedicine use dropped 30% for skilled nursing facilities since 2020

The use of telemedicine by skilled nursing facilities has declined by 30 percent in the last three years, according to research published Aug. 18 in JAMA.

The researchers analyzed data from 4.4 million residents at 15,434 skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. and found that while telemedicine was rapidly adopted by these facilities during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 it has dropped since then.

The frequency of its use is still higher than prior to the pandemic, and patients at skilled nursing facilities use it more often for psychiatric visits, the study found. Psychiatric telemedicine visits experienced a 20.2 percent increase in the same time frame as the overall decline.

"Higher telemedicine use in SNFs was associated with improved access to psychiatry visits in SNFs," the researchers wrote. In the future, "a policy to encourage continued telemedicine use may facilitate further access to important services as the technology matures."

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