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Does Telemedicine Help to Cut Nonattendance for Dermatology Patients?

Telemedicine linked to substantially reduced nonattendance rates in pediatric patients, but not in patients aged 65 years and older

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | January 19, 2022

Telemedicine has a beneficial effect on nonattendance among pediatric dermatology patients, according to a research letter published online Jan. 15 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology .

Abigail Cline, M.D., Ph.D., from New York Medical College in Valhalla, and colleagues examined the impact of telemedicine on no-show rates in pediatric dermatology from three safety net clinics in New York City. A retrospective chart review was performed to examine all no-show and completed dermatology visits from Aug. 1, 2019, to Feb. 1, 2020 (all in-person visits) and Aug. 1, 2020, to Feb. 1, 2021 (in-person and virtual visits).

The researchers found that during the first period (2019 to 2020) when all appointments were scheduled in person, the pediatric dermatology no-show rates were 47, 47, and 45 percent at the three sites. During the period from 2020 to 2021, the corresponding telemedicine no-show rates in pediatric dermatology were 26, 37, and 36 percent. Telemedicine was associated with a substantially reduced nonattendance rate in pediatric dermatology patients compared with the year earlier. However, the use of telemedicine had largely the converse effect in patients aged 65 years and older. During 2019 to 2020, the no-show rates in the elderly were 31, 29, and 35 percent compared with the telemedicine no-show rates of 31, 31, and 51 percent in 2020 to 2021.

"Telehealth has the potential to expand access or further disenfranchisement; a considered approach is necessary to address the unique needs of disparate demographics," the authors write.

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