Telehealth users more likely to have follow-up in-person appointment, emergency department visit

A study of more than 40 million Americans with acute conditions showed that those who use telehealth are more likely to schedule an in-person follow up, go to the emergency room and ultimately become an in-patient admission. 

The study, published in JAMA Network Open April 26, used data from 40.7 million commercially insured Americans with acute clinical conditions and collected their claims files from July 2020 to December 2020. 

They found that patients with an initial telehealth visit for acute conditions often needed a follow-up in-person appointment, suggesting that they were not satisfied with the level of care provided by telehealth. This same group also had higher odds of having an emergency department encounter and in-patient admission than those who didn't have an initial telehealth visit. However, the opposite trend was seen in those who had chronic conditions, as an initial telehealth encounter reduced odds of in-person follow-up, admission and emergency room visits.

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