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Patient Safety Risks during On-Demand Telehealth Referrals and Implications for Human Factors Research
LocationGrand Salon VI
DescriptionThe COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the adoption of on-demand telehealth, however, the challenging conditions under which telehealth was implemented raises concerns about the potential for unintended safety risks that are not yet fully understood. One concern as on-demand telehealth is used as a way to refer patients who need in-person care is whether referred patients are following through on in-person care referrals. The failure to seek in-person care may lead to increased risk of diagnostic error. This study found through retrospective analysis of telehealth referral data at a large healthcare system, that only 689 of the 911 on-demand telehealth visits with a referral were found to have an in-person care encounter following the telehealth visit. This preliminary data highlights the need for a more comprehensive analysis of the telehealth referral process and the application of human factors methods to identify and mitigate risks associated with telehealth referrals.