For a study, researchers sought to assess the effects of a specialized COVID-19 clinic with an integrated remote patient monitoring program on acute care utilization in an academic medical center and to correlate these statistics with stakeholder opinions of the clinic’s efficacy and acceptance. Enrolled and unenrolled ambulatory individuals who tested positive from May to September 2020 were matched on age, presence of comorbidities, and other characteristics to form a retrospective cohort. Inductive-deductive analysis was applied to semi-structured qualitative interviews with patients, frontline clinicians, and administrators to uncover salient themes. Enrolled patients were more likely to be hospitalized than unenrolled patients (N=11/137 enrolled vs. 2/126 unenrolled, P=.02), reflecting a higher admission rate following emergency department (ED) events among the enrolled vs. unenrolled. However, this difference was not statistically significant (46% vs. 25%, respectively, P=.32). From June to October 2020, 38 qualitative interviews with stakeholders demonstrated a widespread belief in the clinic’s support of appropriate care escalation. Contrary to the idea that the clinic reduced inappropriate care utilization, there was no difference between enrolled and unenrolled patients who presented to the ED and were not admitted (N=10/137 in the enrolled group versus 8/126 in the unenrolled group, P=.76). Administrators and doctors acknowledged the clinic’s crucial role in allowing other health system sectors to continue health services after an initial shutdown. Acute care utilization and interviews with several stakeholders indicate that enhanced outpatient observation through a dedicated COVID-19 clinic and remote patient monitoring program might have contributed to an increase in the appropriate utilization of acute care. The clinic’s role in ensuring the safe reopening of all health services was recognized as a primary, albeit unquantified, benefit.

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