Look for Drugs and Conditions

Representative Image

Study Links Increased Telehealth Use to Higher Healthcare Utilisation and Costs

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open reveals a concerning trend: higher utilisation of telehealth services in hospital service areas corresponds with increased healthcare usage and costs. Conducted by Morteza Saharkhiz, Ph.D., from Meta Platforms Inc. in Menlo Park, California, and colleagues, the study analysed data from all Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, encompassing 3,436 hospital service areas and approximately 30 million individuals.

The findings indicate that individuals residing in areas with high telehealth usage experienced more ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalisations, with an average of 1.63 additional hospitalisations per 1,000 beneficiaries compared to areas with low telehealth utilization. Additionally, these high-use areas saw an uptick in clinician encounters, averaging 0.30 additional encounters per beneficiary per semester, along with a notable increase in the total cost of care, amounting to $164.99 per beneficiary per semester.

However, there was no significant difference observed in ambulatory care-sensitive emergency department visits between the two groups.

The authors note that data from the COVID-19 pandemic suggest a potential correlation between elevated telehealth utilisation and increased access to care, yet also raise concerns regarding a potential decline in care quality, as evidenced by the rise in ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations. They emphasise the importance of further investigation with post-pandemic data to fully comprehend the ramifications of the telehealth expansion on healthcare delivery and outcomes.

Be first to post your comments

Post your comment

Related Articles

Ad 5