TUESDAY, Oct. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — In-person return visits are slightly higher after primary care telemedicine versus in-person visits, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Mary Reed, Dr.P.H., from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, and colleagues compared treatment and follow-up visits between primary care video or telephone telemedicine and in-person office visits in a retrospective study based on administrative and electronic health record data between April and December 2021.
A total of 1,589,014 adult patients, with 2,357,598 primary care visits were included in the analyses. The researchers found that 50.8 percent of the primary care visits used telemedicine (19.5 and 31.3 percent video and telephone, respectively). Medications were prescribed in 46.8, 38.4, and 34.6 percent of office visits, video visits, and telephone visits, respectively, after adjustment. After the visit, 1.3, 6.2, and 7.6 percent of in-person visits, video visits, and telephone visits had a seven-day return in-person visit; 1.6, 1.8, and 2.1 percent, respectively, were followed by an emergency department visit. The largest differences in follow-up office visits after index office versus telephone visits were seen for acute pain conditions, and the smallest differences were seen for mental health.
“Overall, the rates of follow-up emergency department visit and hospitalizations were low, and differences between in-person visits and telemedicine visits were small,” the authors write.
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