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Telehealth Navigator Program Ups Video Visit Adherence in Primary Care

Findings also show a positive financial return on investment

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A telehealth navigator program is associated with significant improvement in video visit adherence as well as a positive return on investment, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in JAMA Network Open.

Oren J. Mechanic, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues evaluated a telehealth patient navigator pilot program to assist patients in overcoming barriers to video visit access. The analysis included 4,066 adults with a scheduled video visit without a previous telehealth visit at two U.S. academic primary care clinics during a 12-week study period from April to July 2021.

The researchers found that patients who received the navigator intervention had significantly increased odds of attending their appointments (odds ratio, 2.0) versus the comparator group. There was an absolute increase of 9 percent in appointment attendance for the navigator group (91.6 versus 82.8 percent). During the study period, the program’s return on investment was $11,387.

“The findings of this study suggest that adding a patient navigator to episodic telehealth visits may increase visit attendance and provide a net financial return,” the authors write. “Our findings have relevance for efforts to reduce barriers to telehealth-based health care and increase equity.”

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