New research has emerged that indicates some aspects of telehealth provision is delivered to a higher quality than in person care. The study was conducted by JAMA network to display the difference between telehealth and in person care, specifically assessing the quality differences if any. The rate of telehealth use increased exponentially during the global pandemic in 2020 due to restrictions that saw patients unable to avail of in person care for extended periods. Several studies have emerged in recent months that illustrate the benefits and continued use of remote healthcare deliverance by clinicians to their patients.
Researchers Derek J. Baughman, Yalda Jabbarpour, and John M. Westfall carried out research retrospectively in a cohort study that examined over 500,000 individual patients, with approximately 400,000 receiving in person care and 100,000 availing of telehealth services. Of the individuals who were treated in person, approximately half were women and approximately eighty percent were white while the telehealth individuals were 63.9% women and 86% were white.
From the research carried out, it was found that in person care outcomes performed better when medicine-based care was provided. This was significant in several areas including individuals with upper respiratory infection and cardiovascular disease. Despite this, the delivery of telehealth care performed better than in person care in several aspects including blood pressure control and patients with diabetes with hemoglobin A1c testing. In addition to this, telehealth had more favorable outcomes in seven of the following areas of counseling:
- cervical cancer screening
- breast cancer screening
- colon cancer screening
- tobacco counseling and intervention
- influenza vaccination
- pneumococcal vaccination
- depression screening
With these results, the researchers concluded that telehealth is more efficient than the in-person delivery of care in various cases, such as when a chronic disease is present in an individual. The results may also indicate an optimal ratio of individuals that avail of telehealth compared to those who receive in person care. The researchers did acknowledge the limitations of the study due to sampling and a lack of control of the two forms of healthcare delivery.