Global Trends in Telehealth Among Clinicians in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Practice: A COVID-19 Snapshot

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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2021 May 12 doi: 10.1097 / DBP.0000000000000963. Online for print.


PURPOSE: This study aims to describe the extent of the use of telehealth by developmental behavioral pediatric (DBP) clinicians and any barriers to adopting telehealth during the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

METHODS: A survey was distributed among DBP clinicians through contact with international professional organizations to determine the use of telehealth in DBP care, before and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive statistics and χ2 tests were used for the analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 271 respondents from 38 countries completed the survey. The number of respondents offering telecare rose from 36% to 88% post-pandemic, with the largest shift to telecare in high-income countries (HICs). Of the respondents who used telehealth, 75.1% made interactive video visits, with HICs using more telehealth modalities embedded in electronic health records. Most of the patients (98.7%) were at home for the telehealth meeting. Almost half (46.5%) could not include an interpreter on tele-health visits. Barriers reported by telecare users included concerns about patients’ limited access to technology (74.3%), distraction at home (56.5%), preference for personal care (53.6%), effectiveness of telecare (48.1 %), workflow efficiency (42.2%), and cost / fee (32.1%).

CONCLUSION: Global DBP clinicians quickly adopted telehealth while continuing to work interprofessional, with the largest adoption among HICs. Provider concerns about patient effectiveness and access to technology emerged as the main organizational and patient barriers, respectively. Increased provider’s confidence in telehealth and its continued use in the future depends on supportive regulatory policies and the availability and use of measures to monitor quality and effectiveness.

PMID: 33990511 | DOI: 10.1097 / DBP.0000000000000963

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