According to a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), telehealth may efficiently deliver cardiovascular care while lowering costs, enhancing care quality, and expanding access to treatment, despite current barriers to technological availability. The AHA is a nonprofit group dedicated to enhancing treatment for heart disease and stroke. The association provided extensive information on the effects of telehealth use on the management of cardiovascular disease in a scientific statement that was published in the AHA’s flagship publication Circulation (CVD).
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has seen a huge increase in utilization. Up to 30 percent of all US clinic appointments took place virtually by mid-2020. Telehealth utilization during the pandemic displayed the potential to save healthcare costs, boost access for those living in remote regions, and improve overall treatment quality and satisfaction for patients with CVD. According to the AHA, services like telehealth portals and smart gadgets are also excellent choices for CVD patients since they enable doctors to remotely manage symptoms at affordable costs.
However, despite these advantages, telehealth utilization has a number of drawbacks that could harm both patients and providers. The adoption of telehealth technology, payment concerns, maintaining an effective workflow, and the requirement for IT infrastructure when managing data obtained via technology are all frequent obstacles for providers. In the meantime, CVD patients frequently confront obstacles such as a lack of access to technology, which is especially problematic for the elderly or those with little resources. In addition, these groups frequently encounter health literacy hurdles like cultural barriers.
Furthermore, Patients may also have problems since there is not enough internet bandwidth available for high-quality video during visits. For instance, not all insurance payers pay equally for appointments made over the phone, in person, or by video. The AHA advises providers to evaluate telehealth quality and review its post-pandemic function as telemedicine use grows. “Telehealth will play an important role in the future of cardiovascular care because the evolution of technology will enable new remote care opportunities to improve medical accessibility,” said lead author Edwin A. Takahashi, assistant professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “Hopefully, this will have a strong benefit for patients from historically excluded and rural communities who often face health care disparities and are most at risk for cardiovascular diseases.”