WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Rheumatology patient care has largely rebounded from the pandemic, with a lingering shift toward continuing telemedicine visits, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, held from May 15 to 18 in Washington, D.C.

Kristin M. Zimmerman Savill, Ph.D., from Cardinal Health in El Dorado Hills, California, and colleagues assessed trends in rheumatology patient care and the financial health and operations of community rheumatology practices during the prepandemic and postpandemic years. A survey of 87 rheumatologists from community- and hospital-based practices was conducted between July and September 2021.

The researchers found that most rheumatologists (84 percent) reported conducting no patient visits via telemedicine before the pandemic, which changed in the postpandemic period (93 percent currently conduct some patient visits via telemedicine). Just over half of participants (57 percent) reported that the financial health of their practice was the same or better versus before the pandemic, and 79 percent reported seeing similar levels or more new patient referrals than before the pandemic. The pandemic exposed an unmet need for patient mental health support (83 percent), medication adherence support (61 percent), and support navigating insurance coverage or managed care (55 percent).

“This study included a limited number of rheumatologists and findings may not be representative of all rheumatologists or community- and hospital-based practices that manage patients with rheumatic disorders throughout the United States,” the authors write.


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