Condition of telehealth for surgical specialties in COVID-19

Health and Wellness Informatics News

Telehealth rates for surgical specialties evidenced a gradual decline due to the pandemic.

However, new studies have come up with results where surgeons preferred telehealth by maximum surgeons than ever before.

It is in the beginning while telehealth got so much preference among doctors and patients due to the pandemic. Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open came up with a new study that shows the decline in telehealth rates around surgical specialties as in-person care resumes.   

The study claims around 4,405 Michigan-oriented surgeons used telehealth mostly in April 2020. That undergone a gradual downfall after June through September. 

The study authors wrote, “Within surgical fields, telehealth had been previously using for preoperative and postoperative follow-up visits, although at low levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic”. They further claim that usage of telehealth in surgery seemed feasible earlier for health care delivery amidst the pandemic.

Researchers are still trying to figure out the rate of dependency of different specialties on virtual care. The JAMA Network Open team investigated claimed insurance to track the visits of new patients in nine surgical specialties. They found among 4,405, 58.8% of surgeons used telehealth in the cohort.

The team proves around 109,610 surgical new outpatient visits from March 2020 to September 2020. That is eight times more compared to the 2019 statistics. Among the nine groups, urology and neurosurgery gained the highest rates of telehealth. On the contrary, ENT and orthopedics had the lowest rate from March to September.     

The study marks that usage of telehealth declined from June 2020 for several factors. That includes patient’s unreliability towards telehealth and surgeons’ inefficiency to assess patients virtually. 

It also says that surgical specialties did see the face of success through telehealth during the COVID-19. However, one question that still stands straight is that if virtual care will remain open after the post-pandemic.

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