Aims and Scope
Feasibility of Telephone-Based Cardiology Consultation: Comparison of Resource Use and Outcomes vs In-Person ConsultationMartin E. Matsumura, Kelly Austin, Yasser Khalil, James C. Blankenship, Bryan Martin
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus infectious disease 2019) pandemic has highlighted the need for alternative modalities to connect with outpatients beyond in-person clinic visits. In the present study, we evaluated the feasibility of a telephone-based teleconsultation cardiology service and compared the use of testing and outcomes between teleconsultation and traditional in-office consultations
The study took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic July 2019 to March 2020. Consult lists were reviewed by a cardiologist for patients appropriate for teleconsultation. Those patients were contacted directly and, if agreeable, a consultation was completed and any required testing was arranged. A series of patients seen in the clinic, matched for a reason for consultation and consulting a cardiologist, were compared in terms of testing frequency and outcomes.
Of 157 patients who felt appropriate for teleconsultation, 100 (63.7%) were successfully contacted and a teleconsultation was completed. Comparing patients undergoing teleconsultation with a matched series of patients seen in person in the clinic, there were no significant differences in testing utilization or outcomes, including emergency room or hospital admission within 30 days of consultation or death or adverse cardiac events at six months following consultation.
Telemedicine can be successfully utilized as an alternative to traditional clinic consultation for selected patients needing cardiology consultation. This consultative modality does not appear to lead to utilization of increased testing or decreased quality or patient outcomes. Larger studies are needed to assess this mode of consultation.
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