For a study, researchers sought to examine the characteristics of any virtual or video-based PC treatment at the patient, provider, and site levels. At the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLA), interrupted time series (ITS) design was carried out between 2019 and 2021, 12 months before and 12 months after COVID-19 onset (set at March 2020). The analysis comprised patients who had at least one visit to a VA PC clinic at GLA (n = 547,730 visits). The study’s two key findings were telehealth (as opposed to in-person care) and video-based care (versus telephone). Segmented logistic regression on repeated monthly telehealth and video-based care data was employed for the ITS analysis. Before COVID-19, the percentages of telehealth and video use climbed from 13.9 to 63.1% and 0.3 to 11.3%, respectively. According to adjusted percentages, non-Hispanic African Americans (36.3%) and Hispanics (34.4%, versus 35.3% for Whites, P<.001) were more likely to use the telephone than video. GLA community-based clinics (36.7%, versus 29.8% in hospital-based clinics, P<.001), social workers/pharmacists/dietitians (53.7%, versus 34.0% for PC clinicians, P<.001). In contrast, women (for all age categories, except 75+) and mental health professionals (43.3%) compared to PC doctors (15.3%) were more likely to use video than the telephone (all P’s<.001). Additional research was required to determine which PC outpatient services were better suited for telephone (e.g., case management) versus video-based care, as telehealthcare provision was anticipated to continue after COVID-19 (e.g., integrated mental health visits). Additionally, it was critical to comprehend how all clinics can steadily expand access to PC services delivered by phone and video while maintaining equitable care for all patient populations.

Source: bmcprimcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12875-022-01738-3