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The COVID-19 Impact on Telehealth Utilization

McBride, Jordan (2021) The COVID-19 Impact on Telehealth Utilization. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) outbreak is a public health concern that impacted healthcare delivery both in the United States and abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transformation of healthcare, fast-tracking the adoption and utilization of telehealth services in health systems. The aim of this systematic review and supporting case study is to analyze the telehealth landscape prior to COVID-19, highlight the acceleration of telehealth as a result of the pandemic, and discuss the steps that health systems took to implement, grow, and support telehealth services for their patients.

Literature, survey data, and studies from public health organizations, government resources, health systems, and telehealth platforms will be reviewed and analyzed. Emanate Health, a 3-hospital health system in Los Angeles County, will be the subject of a case study aimed to support and highlight key findings of the literature review. Emanate Health’s current telehealth offerings will be reviewed in addition to the business case supporting the expansion of the health systems’ telehealth services. Sources of information for this essay will include various studies, white papers, vendor analyses, and webinar discussions. Data collected from several Emanate Health resources will also be utilized to support key findings.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services were used minimally across the US. Patients, payers, and providers were seemingly concerned with the quality of care associated with virtual visits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, patient volumes dropped drastically, negatively impacting health system revenues. As a result, health systems rapidly adopted, enhanced, or expanded telehealth services. In addition, payers began expanding coverage for telehealth services, governments loosened telehealth regulations and guidelines, and patients began exploring virtual care options.

The public health relevance of telehealth is that the tool is expected to reduce costs and improve access to care by supporting rural patients in medically underserved areas, improving the patient-provider relationship, and reducing healthcare expenditures. Many patients either delay or avoid seeing providers for various reasons, including the fear of COVID-19 exposure, which can negatively impact public health. Telehealth offers an alternative to in-person visits that can benefit a variety of patients, especially those impacted by social determinants of health.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
McBride, Jordanjom182@pitt.edujom182
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEvans, MikeMJE2020Epitt.eduMJE2020UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberRodi, Tonyafrodi@katz.pitt.eduafrodiUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberCurry, Robrcurry@emanatehealth.orgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 10 May 2021
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 88
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MHA - Master of Health Administration
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 21:06
Last Modified: 10 May 2021 21:06


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