We performed a retrospective study of cardiology telemedicine visits at a large academic pediatric center between 2016 and 2019 (pre COVID-19). Telemedicine patient visits were matched to data from their previous in-person visits, to evaluate any significant differences in total charge, insurance compensation, patient payment, percent reimbursement and zero reimbursement. Miles were measured between patient’s home and the address of previous visit. We found statistically significant differences in mean charges of telemedicine versus in-person visits (2019US$) (172.95 vs 218.27, p=0.0046), patient payment for telemedicine visits versus in-person visits (2019US$) (11.13 vs 62.83, p≤0.001), insurance reimbursement (2019US$) (65.18 vs 110.85, p≤0.001) and insurance reimbursement rate (43% vs 61%, p=0.0029). Rate of zero reimbursement was not different. Mean distance from cardiology clinic was 35 miles. No adverse outcomes were detected. This small retrospective study showed cost reduction and a decrease in travel time for families participating in telemedicine visits. Future work is needed to enhance compensation for telemedicine visits.
- cardiovascular diseases
- heart defects
- heart diseases
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Presented at the 2019 American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions
Contributors AAP was involved in study design, data gathering, analysis of data and drafting the manuscript. CAS was involved in study design and manuscript revision. SMA was involved in study design, data gathering and manuscript revision. CW and JEB were involved in the analysis of data and revising the manuscript. ASH was involved in study design, data gathering, analysis of data and revising the manuscript. This submission is with the full knowledge and approval of the listed coauthors.
Funding This study was funded in part by a grant from the BlueCross BlueShield CareFirst Foundation, “Expanding Access to Medical Care Through Telemedicine”.
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Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Author note Dr Aaron A. Phillips is currently a pediatric cardiology fellow at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Children’s Health, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
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