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Hybrid Clinics: A New Model for Ambulatory Care to Reduce Infection Risk

HumanInsight Hybrid Clinics: A New Model for Ambulatory Care to Reduce Infection Risk

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Aug 25. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0170. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To assess the viability of a hybrid clinic model combining in-person examination with video-based consultation to minimize viral transmission risk. Methods: Data were collected prospectively in a pediatric urology clinic for in-person visits from January to April 2018 ("classic") and hybrid visits from October to December 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic ("hybrid"). Variables included provider, diagnosis, patient type, time of day, prior surgery, postoperative status, and decision-making for surgery. The primary outcome was "room time" or time in-person. The secondary outcome was "total time" or visit duration. Proportion of visits involving close contact (room time ≥15 min) was assessed. Univariate analyses were performed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test and Fisher's exact test. Mixed models were fitted for visit approach and other covariates as fixed effects and provider as random effect. Results: Data were collected for 346 visits (256 classic, 90 hybrid). Hybrid visits were associated with less room time (median 3 min vs. 10 min, p < 0.001) but greater total time (median 13.5 min vs. 10 min, p = 0.001) as compared with classic visits. On multivariate analysis, hybrid visits were associated with 3 min less room time (95% confidence intervals [CIs]: -5.3 to -1.7, p < 0.001) but 3.8 min more total time (95% CI: 1.5-6.1, p = 0.001). Close contact occurred in 6.7% of hybrid visits, as compared with 34.8% of classic visits (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Hybrid clinic visits reduce room time as compared with classic visits. This approach overcomes the examination limitations of telemedicine while minimizing viral transmission, and represents a viable model for ambulatory care whenever close contact carries infection risk.

PMID:36036799 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0170

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