Remote cardiology visits expand access for underserved patients during COVID-19

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New research shows underserved patient groups were more likely to use remote ambulatory cardiology visits during the pandemic, but these visits also saw less frequent testing and prescribing, HCPLive reported April 7. 

The study, which used EHR data for 176,781 ambulatory cardiology visits in Los Angeles County, found that patients accessing cardiology remote visits during the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to be Asian, Black or Hispanic, and more likely to have private insurance and cardiovascular comorbidities. 

However, clinicians also ordered fewer diagnostic tests and were less likely to order any medication pre-COVID-19 than during COVID-19, the study found. Researchers said this disparity is likely a result of the difficulty in obtaining reliable vital signs remotely. 

Researchers studied EHR data between two periods: pre-COVID, April 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, and COVID-era, April 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. 

Patient characteristics, medication ordering and test ordering in pre-COVID visits were then compared to COVID-era in person, COVID-era video appointments and COVID-era telephone appointments.

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