Telemedicine grants quicker access to primary care: study

Telemedicine helped decrease by half the time between scheduling and appointments for primary care visits conducted before the pandemic, according to a Feb. 3 study published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

Study participants were patients who received care at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente from 2016 to 2018. Researchers used the online portal, where patients schedule appointments with their primary care providers, to include a question regarding their visit type preference. The choices were in-person, video and telephone.

Out of nearly 2.2 million primary care visits scheduled, 14 percent were conducted via telemedicine. And when all three methods were compared with the number of days between scheduling and appointment dates, telemedicine visits conducted over the phone averaged 1.8 days from scheduling to appointment, video visits averaged 2.3 days from scheduling to appointment, and in-person visits averaged 3.5 days from scheduling to appointment.

The study results indicate that patients who choose telemedicine were granted more timely access to primary care.

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