Know about: Audio-only telehealth nevertheless not unusual at FQHCs in California

Audio-only telehealth visits nevertheless make up a significant portion of primary and behavioral healthcare at federally qualified smartly being amenities in California, in step with a RAND Corporate learn about published in JAMA.

Despite the fact that audio-only visits have declined from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers found out they accounted for one in 5 primary care visits and two in 5 behavioral smartly being visits among people who gained care at FQHCs throughout the state in August 2022.

The learn about analyzed wisdom from 30 multisite FQHCs in California that served 1.3 million low-income victims. It found out normal adjusted primary care visits actually higher by way of 8.5% from February 2020 to August 2022. Behavioral smartly being visits higher 23.3%.

The learn about’s authors argue those will building up have been most certainly on account of the ability to broadly offer telehealth services and products even for the reason that clinics had fewer staffers. 

“It is most certainly that the ones coverage web clinics continued to send audio-only visits in best amount because of their serve as in improving get right to use to smartly being services and products,” Lori Uscher-Pines, lead creator of the learn about and a senior protection researcher at RAND, discussed in a statement. “Our learn about raises vital questions about what kind of serve as we would love audio-only visits participating in throughout the care of disadvantaged populations and most of the people mainly going forward.”

The proportion of in-person primary care visits higher from 29.7% to 71.4% from April 2020 to August 2022, while audio-only reduced from 66.5% to 21.4%. Video visits higher from 3.8% to 7.2%. 

For behavioral smartly being, in-person visits higher from 19.6% to 37.4%. Audio-only visits reduced from 74.2% to 39.3%, while video visits higher from 7.7% to 23.2%.

Audio-only visits reached their peak in April 2020 for primary care and March 2021 for behavioral healthcare. 


Despite the fact that clinics have been increasing their video visits, the learn about’s authors phrase they nevertheless relied on audio-only calls, most certainly because of technical obstacles for providers and victims. California’s Medicaid program moreover reimbursed for audio-only telehealth, so providers didn’t have a financial incentive to cut down on audio calls. 

Nevertheless, the learn about’s authors phrase the highest level of use among low-income victims is in most cases a terror as the prime quality of audio-only telehealth hasn’t been established.

“It kind of feels that most certainly that audio-only visits in the ones settings will keep trendy in coming years,” Uscher-Value discussed. “Additional research is sought after on the effectiveness of audio-only visits to inform their use in coverage web settings.”

Howard Rubin will likely be providing further part all over the HIMSS23 session “Increasing Get admission to to Handle Rural and Underserved Communities.” It is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18 at 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. CT at the South Development, Degree 1, room S105A.

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