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Primary Care Visits Are Timelier When Patients Choose Telemedicine: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study

Introduction: Telemedicine could increase timely access to primary care-a key dimension of care quality. Methods: Among patient-scheduled appointments with their own primary care providers using the online portal in a large integrated health care delivery system, we measured the association between visit type (telemedicine or in-person) and appointment timeliness. We calculated the calendar days between the scheduling date and the actual appointment time. Results: Overall, 2,178,440 primary care visits were scheduled and 14% were done through telemedicine. The mean calendar days between the scheduling and the appointment time were 1.80 for telephone visits, 2.29 for video visits, and 3.52 for in-person visits. After multivariate adjustment, 66.61% (confidence interval [95% CI]: 66.44-66.79) of telephone visits, 56.58% (95% CI: 55.90-57.27) of video visits, and 46.49% (95% CI: 46.42-46.57) of in-person visits were scheduled to occur within 1 day of making the appointment. Conclusions: In a setting with comparable in-person and telemedicine scheduling availability, choosing telemedicine was associated with more timely access to primary care.

Authors: Graetz, Ilana; Huang, Jie; Muelly, Emilie; Gopalan, Anjali; Reed, Mary E

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Sep;28(9):1374-1378. Epub 2022-02-03.

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