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A 5-Year Single-Institution Experience Integrating Telehealth Into Urologic Care Delivery.

Nourian A, Smith N, Kleinman L, Boxer R, Shelton JB. A 5-Year Single-Institution Experience Integrating Telehealth Into Urologic Care Delivery. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2021 Sep 1; 27(9):997-1002.

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Telehealth is increasingly used in urology, but few studies have evaluated how it can be integrated with urology face-to-face (FTF) encounters and primary care (PC). We describe the 5-year experience of a Veterans Affairs urology service that has incorporated telehealth into their patient care program. We performed a retrospective review of encounters from 2013 to 2018 in telehealth urology clinics. To examine the way telehealth and FTF visits were utilized together, the key components of care were defined for the evaluation of three common referrals: elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA), microscopic hematuria, and obstructive lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). A random convenience sample of 20 patients from each condition was abstracted to describe the setting of care for each component over a 2-year period. We reviewed 811 unique patients who had a total of 2,008 telehealth visits. The mean utilization of telehealth (2.48) and FTF (2.42) encounters per patient were similar. The most common reasons for referral to telehealth clinics were sexual dysfunction (26.8%), LUTS (20.6%), hematuria (15.0%), prostate cancer (13.3%), and an elevated PSA (12.1%). Thirty-six percent of patients were managed by telehealth alone; 64% were by a combination of telehealth and FTF encounters. Telehealth was often used in conjunction with PC and FTF visits to perform components such as the physical exam and procedures. Telehealth was utilized for a wide array of diseases and often used in conjunction with PC and urologic FTF visits to deliver complete care for the three disease states we evaluated.

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