New research has found that patient navigators increase attendance of video telehealth visits. Telehealth physician visits have significantly increased in number since the coronavirus pandemic. That adoption was encouraged in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Despite this increase, technological challenges make it hard for some patients to keep their visits.
For their 12-week pilot program, the investigators collected data from 4,066 patients who used video telehealth visits. Of the total number of patients, almost 63% were women.
They divided the patients into two groups: the intervention group and the comparator group. The intervention group was made up of 1,000 patients who received phone calls from a patient navigator a day before their telehealth appointments. On the other hand, the comparator group only received the usual reminders through text and phone.
The patients were served by a primary care clinic and a gerontology clinic, and the median age for patients in the comparator group stood at 52 years while that of those in the intervention group was 55 years.
During the call, the navigator answered questions raised by patients on how to access the visits and provided technical assistance to the patients, based on a script they were provided.
The investigators observed that in comparison to the 82.8% of patients in the comparator group who attended their visits, almost 92% of patients from the intervention group honored their appointments. The researchers also observed that the number of patients who cancelled their appointments was higher in the comparator group in comparison to the number in the intervention group, standing at 9.2% to 5.8%. In addition, the researchers calculated that the program generated more than $11,000 return on investment.
In their report, the investigators stated that patient navigators could help improve patient attendance of video telehealth visits while also providing a return on investment. They added that the Telehealth Patient Navigator Program had proven to be a high-value and cost-effective intervention that was linked to improvements in attendance of telehealth visits and fewer cancellations and/or no-shows from patients.
The researchers then noted that employing the use of a patient navigator would be a good proposition for healthcare systems and suggested that patient navigators be added to regular telehealth visits because they could increase attendance from patients and also provide a financial return.
The pilot program was carried out April through July 2021, with its findings being reported in “JAMA Network Open.”
Given the way various companies such as MetAlert Inc. (OTC: MLRT) are bringing innovative products aimed at facilitating telehealth, it isn’t surprising that more people will begin to see this form of service provision as an attractive way to interact with medical professionals.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to MetAlert Inc. (OTC: MLRT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/MLRT
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