Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, cardiology clinics rapidly implemented telemedicine to maintain access to care. Little is known about subsequent trends in telemedicine use and visit volumes across cardiology subspecialties. We conducted a retrospective cohort study including all patients with ambulatory visits at a multispecialty cardiovascular center in Northern California from March 2019 to February 2020 (pre-COVID) and March 2020 to February 2021 (COVID). Telemedicine use increased from 3.5% of visits (1200/33,976) during the pre-COVID period to 63.0% (21,251/33,706) during the COVID period. Visit volumes were below pre-COVID levels from March to May 2020 but exceeded pre-COVID levels after June 2020, including when local COVID-19 cases peaked. Telemedicine use was above 75% of visits in all cardiology subspecialties in April 2020 and stabilized at rates ranging from over 95% in electrophysiology to under 25% in heart transplant and vascular medicine. From June 2020 to February 2021, subspecialties delivering a greater percentage of visits through telemedicine experienced larger increases in new patient visits (r=0.81, p=0.029). Telemedicine can be used to deliver a significant proportion of outpatient cardiovascular care though utilization varies across subspecialties. Higher rates of telemedicine adoption may increase access to care in cardiology clinics.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1357633X211073428
View details for PubMedID 35108126