HumanInsight Strategies to Ensure Continuity of Care Using Telemedicine with Older Adults during COVID-19: A Qualitative Study of Physicians in Primary Care and Geriatrics
J Appl Gerontol. 2022 Jun 16:7334648221109728. doi: 10.1177/07334648221109728. Online ahead of print.
Objectives: Our objective was to interview primary care physicians (PCPs) and geriatricians on their experiences using telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic to examine strategies used to maintain continuity of care with their patients, ages 65 and older. Methods: Using purposive sampling, we selected physicians based on community size (metro/suburban/rural) and practice setting (academic/community) and conducted semi-structured interviews via Zoom (mean: 30 minutes). Interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed using framework analysis. Results: We enrolled 33 physicians (15 PCPs and 18 geriatricians) from July to November 2020. Findings indicate that many physicians successfully bridged the digital divide by: assessing patients' technological readiness in advance, being flexible with telehealth modes, using available home or facility-based staff, educating patients on telehealth privacy and usefulness, making accommodations for disabilities, and involving caregivers. Discussion: These findings can inform future policy and practice and assist physicians in resolving addressable barriers to telehealth use among older patients.
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