Utilization of Telehealth in Primary Care to Improve Patient Outcomes
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Purpose: one-cohort posttest only expedited research project is to decrease emergency department utilization and improve patient outcomes by increasing access to primary care services using telehealth. Background: recent data has demonstrated a concerning trend that many patients who miss appointments also have a previous mental health diagnosis leading to discontinuity of care and increased use of tertiary care. Not only are missed appointments expensive for the health system, but they also represent a significant risk to patients’ well-being with a greater than 8-fold increase in all-cause mortality compared to patients who did not miss any appointments. Theoretical framework: the Theory of Self-Efficacy hypothesizes that increasing a person’s perceived self-efficacy leads to increased effort when faced with challenges. Telehealth can increase patient self-efficacy with disease management and empower patients to take control of their health. Method: All patients seen at a private, primary care clinic were offered participation to schedule a telehealth appointment every 2-4 weeks. Data collection used self-report surveys administered during appointment check-in and at subsequent follow-ups. Results: low participation led to diminished survey returns, however no participants reported emergency department usage during the intervention period. Conclusions: low participation yielded inconclusive data. This project highlights the need for future research to support the expansion of telehealth to provide better access to high-quality healthcare.
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