HumanInsight Factors Associated with Follow-Up Adherence After Teleophthalmology for Diabetic Eye Screening Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Telemed J E Health. 2022 Dec 23. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0391. Online ahead of print.
Abstract Background: Follow-up adherence with in-person care is critical for achieving improved clinical outcomes in telemedicine screening programs. We sought to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon follow-up adherence and factors associated with follow-up adherence after teleophthalmology for diabetic eye screening. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of adults screened in a clinical teleophthalmology program at urban and rural primary care clinics between May 2015 and December 2020. We defined follow-up adherence as medical record documentation of an in-person eye exam within 1 year among patients referred for further care. Regression models were used to identify factors associated with follow-up adherence. Results: Among 948 patients, 925 (97.6%) had health insurance and 170 (17.9%) were referred for follow-up. Follow-up adherence declined from 62.7% (n = 52) prepandemic to 46.0% (n = 40) during the pandemic (p = 0.04). There was a significant decline in follow-up adherence among patients from rural (p < 0.001), but not urban (p = 0.72) primary care clinics. Higher median household income (odds ratio [OR] 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19-2.36) and obtaining care from an urban clinic (OR 5.29, 95% CI: 2.09-13.43) were associated with greater likelihood of follow-up during the pandemic. Discussion: Follow-up adherence remains limited after teleophthalmology screening even in a highly insured patient population, with a further decline observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest that rural patients and those with lower socioeconomic status experienced greater barriers to follow-up eye care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Addressing barriers to in-person follow-up care is needed to effectively improve clinical outcomes after teleophthalmology screening.
PMID:36576981 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0391
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