- Telehealth was instrumental in offsetting some of the serious decrease in primary care access during the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis, but a retrospective analysis is highlighting some potential shortcomings of telehealth for primary care.
Specifically, the study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that the insurgence of telehealth as a key primary care modality has changed the scope of primary care. Certain wellness checks, like those that track cardiovascular disease risk, don’t usually happen via telehealth, the researchers found.
“Evaluations of cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol have decreased, owing to fewer total visits and less frequent assessment during telemedicine encounters,” the researchers said. “Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with changes in the structure of primary care, with the content of telemedicine visits differing from that of office-based encounters.”