Use of Telehealth by Surgical Specialties during the COVID-1
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Telehealth is being used in surgical fields at rates higher than before the pandemic, and its use varies across surgical specialties. The study was published by JAMA Surgery.

The objective of the study was to assess patterns of telehealth use across surgical specialties before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insurance claims from a Michigan statewide commercial payer for new patient visits with a surgeon from 1 of 9 surgical specialties during one of the following periods: prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, early pandemic, and late pandemic.

Among 4405 surgeons in the cohort, 2588 performed telehealth in any patient care context. Specifically for new patient visits, 1182 surgeons used telehealth. A total of 109610 surgical new outpatient visits were identified during the pandemic. The median age of telehealth patients was 46.8 years compared with 52.6 years for patients who received care in-person.

--Prior to March 2020, less than 1% of new patient visits were conducted through telehealth.

--Telehealth use peaked in April 2020 (week 14) and facilitated 34.6% of all new patient visits during that week.

--The telehealth conversion rate peaked in April 2020 and was equal to 8.2% of 2019 mean weekly new patient visit volume.

--During period 2, a mean of 16.6% of all new patient surgical visits were conducted via telehealth.

--During period 3, 3.0% of all new patient surgical visits were conducted via telehealth.

--Mean (SD) telehealth conversion rates varied by specialty with urology being the highest.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/2778017
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