“For a lot of settings, a lot of patients, and in a lot of domains within urology, audio visits are equivalent in terms of satisfaction and outcomes to video visits,” says Kara L. Watts, MD.
At the 2023 American Urological Association Summit, Lisa J. Finkelstein, DO, FACOS, and Kara L. Watts, MD, presented 5 key points for urologists to discuss with legislators regarding telemedicine. The third point was continued reimbursement for audio-only visits, which Watts discusses in this video. Watts is an associate professor of urology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.
The third was continuing payment for audio-only, or essentially phone call visits. There was a lot of research from a number of institutions in the US and also internationally during the pandemic, looking at patient satisfaction, outcomes, and complication rates in a variety of settings for audio vs video visits. And it was the first time really that this could be studied because prior to the pandemic, audio visits were not reimbursed at all. So this provided an opportunity, and it showed that for a lot of settings, a lot of patients, and in a lot of domains within urology, audio visits are equivalent in terms of satisfaction and outcomes to video visits. And for patients in underserved areas and patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or with English as a second language, their digital access and knowledge to be able to access a video visit is a barrier. It's challenging. So being able to continue to offer telehealth via an audio-only platform is not only helpful to these populations, but we think essential, and it also will continue to encourage health care providers who are utilizing this form of telehealth to continue to do so.
This transcription was edited for clarity.