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Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Infectious Disease Telehealth Practices in North America

HumanInsight Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Infectious Disease Telehealth Practices in North America

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2022 Nov 1:piac111. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piac111. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has driven a significant increase in the use of telehealth (TH) but little is published about changes in TH usage by pediatric infectious disease (PID) providers. We assessed their pre- and intra-pandemic TH usage and experience.

METHODS: The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) Telehealth Work Group surveyed PID specialists in the United States and Canada from 12/6/2020 until 2/26/2021. Data collected included TH modalities, barriers and satisfaction.

RESULTS: The survey response rate was 11.3% (288 of 2,550 PID clinicians) with 243 (96% of 253 analysis-eligible responses) managing children only. Women accounted for 62.1% (n = 157), 51.4% (130) of respondents devoted 50-99% of their time to direct patient care, and 93.3% (236) were located in the US. The greatest increase in TH usage during the pandemic was in synchronous provider-patient communications (3.9-fold increase). During the pandemic, provider-provider TH increased by less than 10%, comfort with TH usage doubled from 42% to 91%, and satisfaction grew from 74% to 93.3% with different aspects of TH. The top challenge was incomplete or no physical examination (182, 71.9%). Multivariate analysis showed that pre-pandemic TH usage and lack of barriers, but not reimbursement, were significantly associated with higher intra-pandemic usage. EMR-integrated TH was associated with significantly higher usage and satisfaction. Over 70% of respondents anticipate continuing TH usage after the pandemic.

CONCLUSIONS: There was high intra-pandemic usage of, and increased comfort and satisfaction with telehealth by PID specialists. Our data help inform post-pandemic TH expectations and strategies.

PMID:36317225 | DOI:10.1093/jpids/piac111

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