Practice’s bariatric nonsurgical visits up with telehealth during pandemic

Practice’s bariatric nonsurgical visits up with telehealth during pandemic

Practice's bariatric nonsurgical visits up with telehealth during pandemic

(HealthDay)—New patient visit volumes decreased across the board at a comprehensive metabolic and weight loss center during the COVID-19 pandemic, but follow-up visits increased for certain nonsurgical providers, according to a study published in the December issue of the Annals of Surgery.

Andrew M. Brown, M.D., from Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and colleagues evaluated how full-time telemedicine adoption impacted patient visit volume and attendance among patients at a comprehensive metabolic and weight loss center. The analysis compared new patient and follow-up visits for all clinical provider types before and after telehealth implementation (March 19, 2020) to a comparative period in 2019.

The researchers found there were 506 visits (162 new patient visits and 344 follow-ups) in the pretelehealth period versus 413 visits (77 new patient visits and 336 follow-ups) during the post-telehealth period. New visits for surgeons decreased by 75 percent after telehealth implementation. Follow-up visits decreased by 55.06 percent for surgeons, but there was an increase by 27.36 percent for advanced practitioners and a 16.08 percent increase for the group of all other practitioners besides surgeons. There were higher rates of absenteeism with new patient visits for dietitians (10.00 versus 31.42 percent), while bariatricians experienced a decrease in follow-up visit absenteeism (33.33 versus 0 percent).

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