ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NYU / 08.06.2022 Interview with: Katherine Garcia MD NYU Langone Health  What is the background for this study?  Response: Studies on cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown a decrease in new diagnoses, delays in care, and a shift to later stage disease presentations. Considering that NY has been an epicenter for COVID-19 in the U.S., we investigated its impact on new cancer diagnoses at the two campuses of NYU’s Perlmutter Cancer Center and hypothesized that there would be a decrease in presentations during the peak outbreaks in NY. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Social Issues, Technology / 23.10.2020 Interview with: Susan Lu PhD Gerald Lyles Rising Star Associate Professor of Management Krannert School of Management Purdue University What is the background for this study? Response: We started this project in 2016. Overcrowding in emergency rooms (ERs) is a common yet nagging problem. It not only is costly for hospitals but also compromises care quality and patient experience. Hence, finding effective ways to improve ER care delivery is of great importance. Meanwhile, the advancement of healthcare technologies including electronic medical records, online doctor ratings and 4G mobile network motivates us to think about the impact of telemedicine on ER operations in the near future.  (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Technology / 22.05.2019 Interview with: Coleman Drake, PhD Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management Pitt Public Health University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Telemedicine is frequently proposed as a solution to improve access to care in rural areas where driving to the nearest physician can take up to several hours. However, there needs to be sufficient broadband infrastructure for patients to actually use telemedicine. We found that broadband infrastructure is often insufficient to support telemedicine in the most rural areas, particularly in areas where there is inadequate access to primary care physicians and psychiatrists.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Ophthalmology / 20.05.2019 Interview with: Thulasiraj Ravilla Executive Director – LAICO & Director – Opeations Aravind Eye Care System Tamilnadu, India What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a visual consequence of diabetes and various other studies have reported that in India, 10% to 30% of adults with diabetes have DR, with higher rates found in older people and urban areas. Undetected DR leads to vision loss and eventually blindness. Thus early identification of DR is critical to initiate appropriate treatment to reduce the rate of vision loss. Conventional approaches of requesting diabetologists to refer patients with diabetes to an ophthalmologist has been ineffective due to compliance issues, both by the diabetologists and the patients. Similarly screening through outreach eye camps have not been found to be effective in India and other developing countries owing to inadequate eye care resources. Teleretinal screening for Diabetic Retinopathy is increasingly being used in India. Evidence from randomized clinical trials on the benefits of teleretinal screening is limited. Whatever evidence is there are from high income countries, which often have little relevance to developing countries. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care, Respiratory, Telemedicine / 02.10.2018 Interview with: Dr. Kathryn A. Martinez PhD MPH CanSORT Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team Cleveland Clinic What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most upper respiratory infections are viral and therefore should not be treated with antibiotics. Despite this, physicians commonly prescribe them for these conditions. Patients often expect antibiotics for respiratory tract infections.  As a result, physicians may find it easier to give patients what they want rather than explain to them why antibiotics aren’t needed. We hypothesized it also might be more time consuming for physicians to explain to patients why they don’t need antibiotics, which creates a further incentive to prescribe them. To explore this potential phenomenon, we used data from a large direct to consumer telemedicine system to assess differences in medical encounter length by prescription outcome for patients diagnosed with respiratory tract infections. We found that encounters resulting in antibiotics were 0.33 minutes shorter than those that resulted in no prescriptions, supporting our hypothesis that prescribing an antibiotic takes less time than prescribing nothing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Telemedicine / 23.02.2017 Interview with: Eirini Karyotaki, MSc Department of Clinical Psychology and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression is broadly acknowledged as a major health issue associated with a great risk of mortality and morbidity. Nevertheless, help-seeking rates are low among individuals with depression. Some of the barriers that impede help seeking are the limited availability of trained clinicians, the fear of stigmatisation and the cost of treatment. Self-guided Internet based Cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) has the potential to overcome many of these treatment barriers. However, recent randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have produced mixed evidence regarding the effects of self-guided iCBT in treating adults with depressive symptoms. To gain more insight in the effectiveness of self-guided iCBT, an Individual Participant Data meta-analysis was performed. 3876 individual participant data across 13 RCTs were collected and analysed. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Pain Research, Telemedicine / 21.02.2017 Interview with: Rachel Nelligan, BPhysio Physiotherapist & Research Physiotherapist Department of Physiotherapy | Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine The University of Melbourne Victoria Australia What is the background for this study? Response: This novel study investigated the efficacy of an internet delivered model of service delivery that combined online education, Skype delivered exercise physiotherapy and an Internet-based interactive pain coping skills training program for people with persistent knee pain. Osteoarthritis, the leading cause of chronic knee pain and disability globally, has a significant individual, societal and economic burden. On an individual level knee osteoarthritis causes loss of function, reduced quality of life, and psychological distress. Clinical guidelines recommend adoption of a biopsychosocial approach to management which should include nondrug, nonsurgical treatments. Specifically exercise, education and psychological interventions (including pain coping skills training (PCST)) that foster self-management are recommended. Evidence identifies that many knee OA sufferers are not receiving adequate management due in part to challenges of accessing these effective treatments. There is an urgent need for new models of health service delivery to rectify this. Tele-rehabilitation is growing in acceptance as an effective, time efficient and convenient means for people to access effective health interventions. In knee OA internet delivered interventions specifically remotely delivered physiotherapy exercise using specialised tele-rehabilitation equipment and an Internet-based interactive PCST program (PainCOACH), designed to translate key therapeutic elements of clinician-delivered face-to-face PCST, have shown improved patient outcomes. Prior to this study the combination of these two internet-based treatments has not been investigated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Schizophrenia, Telemedicine / 26.08.2016 Interview with: Dror Ben Zeev, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry Director, mHealth for Mental Health Program Dartmouth College Hanover, NH What is the background for this study? Response: We deployed a mobile phone intervention called FOCUS as part of a larger multi-component effort called Improving Care Reducing Costs (ICRC). ICRC was the first technology-aided relapse prevention program of its kind for people with schizophrenia; a very exciting multi-state project funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) led by Dr. John Kane at the Zucker Hillside Hospital and a team of researchers from multiple institutions. Several other technological interventions were used in concert with mHealth, including a web intervention called Coping with Voices Developed by Dr. Jen Gottlieb and a Daily Support Website developed by Dr. Armando Rotondi. A truly multi-disciplinary effort designed to help prevent re-hospitalization in people with psychosis who were recently discharged from the hospital; this is a group that is at very high risk for relapse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, PLoS, Primary Care, Telemedicine / 26.07.2016 Interview with: Brian McKinstry MD Professor of primary care e-health and General practitioner MacKenzie Medical Centre EdinburghBrian McKinstry MD Professor of primary care e-health and General practitioner MacKenzie Medical Centre Edinburgh What is the background for this study?  Response: The prevalence of diabetes is rising as the population ages and becomes more obese. Clinical services are increasingly stretched, so much so that it will be difficult for doctors and nurses to continue to look after patients using the same service delivery they have used in the past. Increasingly patients are being asked to self-manage long-term illnesses, but particularly with type 2 diabetes they find this stressful. One solution is to encourage self-management but with monitoring at a distance through telehealth. We performed a randomised controlled trial in family practices in four regions of the United Kingdom among 321 people with type 2 diabetes and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ( a measure of control over the previous three months) >58 mmol/mol. The supported telemonitoring intervention involved self-measurement and transmission to a secure website of twice weekly morning and evening glucose for review by family practice clinicians. The control group received usual care, with at least annual review and more frequent reviews for people with poor glycaemic or blood pressure control in the context of incentives in family practice based on a sliding scale of financial rewards for achieving glycaemic and blood pressure control targets. HbA1c assessed at nine months was the primary outcome. Intention-to-treat analyses were performed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Telemedicine / 23.06.2016 Interview with: Mirna Becevic, PhD, MHA Assistant Research Professor University of Missouri - Department of Dermatology Missouri Telehealth Network What is the background for this study? Response: Psychiatry is, by far, the biggest utilizer of telemedicine services on the Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN). MTN supports an average of 4000 tele-psychiatry appointments every month, and 10% of those are provided by the University of Missouri Department of Psychiatry. Since we are all aware of the ever-increasing demand for child and adolescent psychiatry, but also the stigma that goes along with it, we wanted to examine more closely the actual usage of those services at the University of Missouri. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause, Telemedicine / 19.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Susan McCurry Principal Investigator Clinical psychologist and research professor School of Nursing University of Washington What is the background for this study? Dr. McCurry: Every woman goes through menopause.  Most women experience nighttime hot flashes/sweats and problems sleeping at some point during the menopause transition.  Poor sleep leads to daytime fatigue, negative mood, and reduced daytime productivity.  When sleep problems become chronic – as they often do – there are also a host of negative physical consequences including increased risk for weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Many women do not want to use sleeping medications or hormonal therapies to treat their sleep problems because of concerns about side effect risks.  For these reasons, having effective non-pharmacological options to offer them is important. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Telemedicine, UCSF / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Jack Resneck, Jr, MD Professor and Vice-Chair of Dermatology Core Faculty, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies UCSF School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Resneck: Telemedicine, when done right, can improve access and offer convenience to patients.  We have seen proven high-quality care in telemedicine services where patients are using digital platforms to communicate with their existing doctors who know them, and where doctors are getting teleconsultations from other specialists about their patients.  But our study shows major quality problems with the rapidly growing corporate direct-to-consumer services where patients send consults via the web or phone apps to clinicians they don’t know. Most of these sites aren’t giving patients a choice of the clinician who will care for them or disclosing the credentials of those clinicians – patients should know whether their rash is being cared for by a board-certified dermatologist, a pain management specialist, or a nurse practitioner who usually works in an emergency department.  Some of these sites are even using doctors who aren’t licensed in the US.   We also found that these sites were regularly missing important diagnoses, and prescribing medications without discussing risks and side-effects, putting patients at risk.  We observed that if you upload photos of a highly contagious syphilis rash but state that you think you have psoriasis, most clinicians working for these direct-to-consumer sites will just agree with your self-diagnosis and prescribe psoriasis medications, leaving you with a contagious STD. Perhaps the biggest problem with many of these sites is the lack of coordinating care for patients – most of them didn’t offer to send records to a patient’s existing local doctors.  And when patients end up needing in-person care if their condition worsens, or they have a medication side-effect, those distant clinicians often don’t have local contacts, and are unable to facilitate needed appointments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Technology, Telemedicine / 05.05.2016 Interview with: Lori Uscher-Pines, PhD RAND Corporation Arlington, Virginia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although many communities in the U.S. are underserved by dermatologists, access is particularly limited among Medicaid patients. Teledermatology may be one solution to improve access. Our goal with this study was to assess the effect of a novel teledermatology initiative on access to dermatologists among enrollees in a Medicaid Managed Care Plan in California’s Central Valley. Among all patients who visited a dermatologist after the introduction of teledermatology from 2012-2014 (n=8614), 49% received care via teledermatology. Among patients newly enrolled in Medicaid following Medicaid expansion in 2014, 76% of those who visited a dermatologist received care via teledermatology. Patients of primary care practices that engaged in teledermatology had a 64% increase in the fraction of patients visiting a dermatologist (vs. 21% in other practices) (p<.01). Compared with in-person dermatology, teledermatology served more patients under age 17, male patients, nonwhite patients, and patients without comorbid conditions. Conditions managed across settings varied; teledermatology physicians were more likely to care for viral skin lesions and acne whereas in-person dermatologists were more likely to care for psoriasis and skin neoplasms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Telemedicine / 09.12.2015 Interview with: Mirna Becevic, PhD, MHA Assistant Research Professor of Telemedicine University of Missouri - Department of Dermatology Missouri Telehealth Network  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Becevic: The Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) at the University of Missouri has been providing outpatient clinical services to rural Missourians since 1995.  Over 29 specialties and subspecialties have been utilized to assist patients in 69 counties. We have learned a lot along the way, what works well and what does not, in terms of telehealth protocols, trainings, best practices, etc. The MTN holds bi-annual two day training conference for new sites to share these experiences and provide hands-on training in telemedicine.  Our main goal with this study was to reach all telehealth users on the Missouri Telehealth Network (patients, providers, and telehealth coordinators-patient presenters) and learn about their perceptions of and opinions regarding this form of health care delivery.  We also wanted to evaluate the overall accessibility and discernment of the MTN by telehealth coordinators, since we felt that they might need to have continuous support in order to successfully manage their telehealth programs. Our main findings indicated that all three surveyed groups had high satisfaction with telemedicine.  Patients were confident in their doctors’ medical skills, and lack of physical contact was not viewed as a barrier. Telehealth providers thought telehealth was an effective tool for providing care at a distance, but indicated that they did not prefer telehealth over in-person visits. (more…)
JAMA, Vanderbilt / 24.09.2015

Michael A. Vella, M.D. Veterans Affairs Medical Center Vanderbilt University, Interview with: Michael A. Vella, M.D. Veterans Affairs Medical Center Vanderbilt University, Nashville Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vella: We are fortunate to take care of Veterans from all over Middle TN at the Tennnessee Valley Healthcare System Nashville Campus.  A significant number of Veterans travel long distances and invest time and money in order to visit with us.  We noticed that many patients undergoing "low complexity" operations like removal of gallbladders and repair of groin hernia spend a significant amount of time, energy, and, in some cases, money to travel to our facility for post operative visits relative to the amount of time they spend in their evaluations.  We wanted to look at the quality of and Veteran preference for telehealth visits (phone and video) with the idea that, if feasible, we could implement a telehealth program at our facility. In our small pilot study, 23 Veterans underwent sequential phone, video, and in-person visits.  The Veterans were evaluated on four domains at each visit type: general recovery, follow-up needs, wound care needs, and complications.  We then determined the agreement among the three visit types.  There was 100% agreement across the three visit types in the domains of general recovery and follow-up needs.  Percent agreement for wound needs and complications was 96%, reflecting a possible infection on a phone encounter that was not present on clinic or video assessment.  One Veteran in the sample had a wound infection that was detected by both phone and video and confirmed during the in-person visit.  Importantly, there were no instances in which we failed to detect a wound issue or postoperative complication by phone or video.  We also found an association between preference for telehealth visits and distance traveled, although the majority of Veterans in our study preferred telehealth visitation over traditional face-to-face encounters. We found that over the phone and video visits were not only high quality, but were preferred by our Veterans, especially those living far from our facility.  We have implemented a telehealth program for general surgery post operative follow up at our institution and currently evaluate 3-5 patients a week using telehealth modalities with plans to continue to expand. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Telemedicine, University of Michigan / 03.09.2015

Dr. Rashid Bashshur PhD Director of Telemedicine University of Michigan Health System Emeritus Professor of Health Management and Policy University of Michigan, School of Public Interview with: Dr. Rashid Bashshur PhD Director of Telemedicine University of Michigan Health System Emeritus Professor of Health Management and Policy University of Michigan, School of Public Health  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bashshur: The impetus for this research derives from the confluence of several factors, including the increasing incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases, their associated morbidity and  mortality and their high cost. The search for solutions has taken center stage in health policy.  Patients must be engaged in  in managing their health and health care, and they must assume greater responsibility for adopting and maintaining a healthy life style to reduce their dependence on the health system and to help themselves in maintaining an optimal level of health.  The  telemedicine intervention promises to  address all these issues and concerns, while also providing ongoing monitoring and guidance for patients who suffer from serious chronic illness. The preponderance of the evidence from robust scientific studies points to the beneficial effects of the telemedicine intervention (through telemonitoring and patient engagement) in terms of reduction in use of service (including hospital admissions/readmissions, length of hospital stay, and emergency department visits) as well as improved health outcomes.  The single exception was reported in a study among frail  elderly patients with co-morbidities who did not benefit from the telemedicine intervention. There is an ever-growing and complex body of empirical evidence that attests to the potential of telemedicine for addressing the triad problems of limited access to care, uneven distribution of quality across communities, and cost inflation.  Research demonstrates the effectiveness of the telemedicine intervention in addressing all three problems, especially when patients are engaged in managing their personal health and healthcare.  The enabling technology can be used to promote healthy life styles, informed decision making, and prudent use of health resources. Unintended consequences of delaying mortality for older adults may also increase the use of resources, especially in the long run, and society must decide on the ultimate values it chooses to promote. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Telemedicine / 18.06.2015 Interview with: Judy K. Tan, MD Department of Nephrology Mount Sinai Hospital New York, New York MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tan: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common life-threatening medical condition, affecting approximately 26 million adults in the U.S. In Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 3, veterans with CKD who reside in the Hudson Valley Veterans Affair Medical Center (VAMC) catchment area travel to the James J. Peters VAMC, a tertiary care facility in the Bronx for their nephrology care. However, because of several barriers such as (1) distance between the two facilities (approximately 60 miles) and (2) patient complexity (medical and psychiatric illnesses), patients referred to the James J. Peters VAMC renal clinic from Hudson Valley VAMC often cancel or “no show”. This poor compliance increases the long-term risk of rapid progression of CKD and the development of complications associated with it.  To address this issue, the division of nephrology at the James J. Peters VAMC, in line with the veterans affairs’ focus on “patient-centered care,” developed a collaborative out-patient telenephrology service as a means to deliver care. The out-patient telenephrology service employs specialized global medical video conferencing equipment with customized medical instruments (ie stethoscopes) and Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) accessibility to direct real-time evaluation and management of our veterans with CKD while they stay in their local VAMC. As demonstrated by Rohatgi et al, this intervention significantly increased the compliance rate of patients and reduced the travel time, miles, and cost of patients utilizing the telenephrology service.1 The hypothesis of our study is that patients with CKD remotely managed through our telenephrology service would exhibit comparable clinical outcomes and visit compliance as conventional in-person renal care. Our provisional analysis of the subjects followed in the telenephrology service showed 117 unique patients were evaluated between 2011-2014. The mean age was 71±11years old with 98.3% males. 70% of the patients were white and 26.5% African American. The predominant etiology of chronic kidney disease was diabetic nephropathy (31.6%) followed by hypertensive nephrosclerosis (26.5%). In the 87 patients who had 1-year follow up data, estimated glomerular filtration (eGFR) was well preserved over the year (33 mL/min vs. 32 mL/min; p=0.04). Systolic blood pressure (BP) was reduced from 138±20 to 133±16 mm Hg (p=0.03), but no difference was observed in diastolic BP. Urine protein-creatinine ratio fell from 0.58 to 0.25 (p=0.07). 94% of patients had parathyroid levels checked and 70.9% were on ACE inhibitors during the first year of follow up. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Ophthalmology, Telemedicine / 08.01.2015 Interview with: Shi Lili Department of Medical informatics and Nantong University Library Nantong University, Nantong, China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most frequently occurring complication of diabetes and one of the major causes of acquired blindness in the working-age population around the world. DR can be detected using various methods. Telemedicine based on digital photographs of the fundus is being used with increasing frequency to detect DR, and especially for Diabetic retinopathy screening. The purpose of our study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of telemedicine in the full range of DR and DME severity compared with the current gold standard. We found that the diagnostic accuracy of telemedicine using digital imaging in DR was overall high. It can be used widely for Diabetic retinopathy screening. (more…)
Author Interviews, Telemedicine, University of Michigan / 15.09.2014

Rashid Bashshur, PhD Senior Advisor for eHealth Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Management and Policy Executive Director, UMHS eHealth Center University of Michigan Health Interview with:  Rashid Bashshur, PhD Senior Advisor for eHealth Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Management and Policy Executive Director, UMHS eHealth Center University of Michigan Health System Medical Research: What are the Main findings of the study? Dr. Bashshur: The main findings can be summarized as follows:
  •  The prevalence of chronic disease is increasing due to the changing demographic composition of the population and unhealthy life styles. Chronic diseases are expensive, accounting for about 70% of health care expenditures;  but  they are amenable to telemedicine interventions.  These interventions consist of ongoing monitoring of patients living in their own home environments, engaging them in managing their health,  providing them with educational materials and the necessary tools to manage their life style mostly by avoiding risky behaviors and adopting healthy ones.
  • Telemedicine interventions consist of various configurations of technology (telephone, video, wired or wireless, automated or manual) , human resources (physicians, nurses, combinations, and patient populations at various levels risk levels or severity of illness, The interventions investigated to date also vary in terms of study design, duration of application (during the study period), and frequency of administration of the intervention.  Hence, the findings must be viewed from the perspective of the specific methodological attributes  of the studies that were performed.
  • Using only robust studies from 2000 to the near present, and limited to congestive heart failure, stroke and COPD.  With notable exceptions,  overall there is substantial and fairly consistent evidence of:
  • A decrease in use of service, including hospitalization, rehospitalization, and emergency depart visits as a result of the telemedicine intervention.
  • Improved health outcomes.
  • Improved event timing for stroke patients.
  • Reduced exacerbations of symptoms for COPD patients
  • Some interesting  trends  to be considered:
  • Frail and elderly patients, those with co-morbid conditions, and those in advanced stages of illness are not likely to benefit from telemedicine interventions, as compared to their counterparts.
  • Visual information as in videoconferencing proved superior to telephone only connection for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.
  • There could be a tradeoff between extra nursing time versus reduced physician time in some settings, but the net effect is cost savings.
  • There seems to be a paradoxical telemedicine effect in terms of increasing longevity but no reduction in hospitalization, reported in few studies.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Telemedicine / 11.09.2014

Mary G. Lynch, MD Professor of Ophthalmology Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center Decatur, Georgia. Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Interview with: Mary G. Lynch, MD Professor of Ophthalmology Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center Decatur, Georgia. Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine,  Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Lynch:
  • Since 2006, the VA has been systematically using teleretinal screening of patients with diabetes to screen for retinopathy in the Primary Care Clinics. Under this program, 90% of veterans with diabetes are evaluated on a regular basis. A number of patients who are screened have findings that warrant a face-to-face ophthalmic exam. No information exists on the effect of such a program on medical center resources.
  • 1,935 patients  underwent teleretinal screening through the Atlanta VA over a 6 month period.  We reviewed the charts of the 465 (24%) of the patients who were referred for a face to face exam in the Eye Clinic.
  • Data was collected for these patients to determine the reasons for referral, the accuracy of the teleretinal interpretation, the resources needed in the Eye Clinic of the Medical Center to evaluate and care for the referred patients over a two year period and possible barriers to patient care.
  • Of the 465 patients referred for an exam, 260 (55.9%) actually came in for an exam. Community notes were available for an additional 66 patients. Information was available for 326 (70.1%) of the referred patients.
  • The most common referring diagnoses were nonmacular diabetic retinopathy (43.2% of referrals), nerve related issues (30.8%), lens or media opacity (19.1%), age-related macular degeneration (12.9%) and diabetic macular edema (5.6%).
  • 16.9% of the referred patients had 2 or more concurrent problems that put them at high risk for visual loss.
  • The percentage agreement between teleretinal screening and the ophthalmic exam was high: 90.4%. Overall sensitivity was 73.6%. The detection of diabetic macular edema had the lowest sensitivity.
  • A visually significant condition was detected for the first time through teleretinal screening for 142 of the patients examined (43.6%).
  • The resource burden to care for referred patients was substantial.
  • 36% of patients required 3 or more visits over the ensuing 2 year period.
  • The treatment of diabetic macular edema had the highest resource use involving on average 5 clinic visits, 6 diagnostic procedures and 2 surgical procedures
  • The most common non-refractive diagnostic procedures were visual fields and optical coherence tomography.
  • The average cost to care for the referred patients (in Medicare dollars) in work RVUs alone was approximately $1,000 per patient. The cost to care for a patient with diabetic macular edema was $2673.36.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research / 15.07.2014

Kurt Kroenke, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine Research Scientist, Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research Research Scientist, Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Director of Education and Training Programs, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Core Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Interview with: Kurt Kroenke, M.D. Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine Research Scientist, Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research Research Scientist, Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Director of Education and Training Programs, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Core Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kroenke: The telecare intervention including monitoring of pain using automated phone calls or the Internet with contacts by a nurse care manager who met weekly with a physician pain specialist to discuss treatment of new patients or patients already being followed who were not improving.
  • Almost twice as many patients in the telecare group had improvement in their pain compared to the usual care control group (52% vs. 27%).
  • Moreover, nearly twice as many patients in the usual care group got worse over 12 months (36% vs. 19%).  Thus, patients with chronic pain may not only fail to improve with current treatment, they in fact can get worse over time.
  • Although one-third of these chronic pain patients were on opioids at start of study, there were very few patients in which opioids needed to be started or dose increased.
  • The intervention group was about equally divided between those who chose to do automated symptom monitoring (ASM) by IVR (51%) or internet (49%).  The majority of patients rated the monitoring as easy to do, and the telecare intervention helpful.
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 13.02.2014

Dr. Misha A. Rosenbach Assistant Professor of Dermatology Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Section Editor, JAMA Dermatology Patient Interview with: Dr. Misha A. Rosenbach Assistant Professor of Dermatology Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Section Editor, JAMA Dermatology Patient Page What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Rosenbach: There is strong agreement between teledermatologists and in-person dermatologists when evaluating inpatients at a tertiary care academic hospital.  The primary aim of this study was to assess telederm as a triage tool.  Many dermatologists are not full-time hospitalists, but work in private practice or clinics which may be remote from affiliated hospitals.  The goal was to evaluate whether teledermatology could help those providers assess the acuity of inpatient consults.  There was strong concordance. (more…)