Follow-up visits via telemedicine were as effective at reducing 30-day readmission rates among heart failure patients as in-person follow-ups, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study subjects were patients with heart failure residing in North Carolina. The goal of the study was to compare the differences in readmission rates between patients who received a follow-up in person, through telehealth, or did not receive one at all.

The study also aimed to determine the general effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on follow-up appointments and their setting, how telehealth related to patient demographics, and whether telehealth was more efficient than in-person appointments in reducing readmissions.

The sample included 6,918 patients. Overall, 46.3 percent of patients attended a follow-up appointment during the pandemic. Of this population, one out of six patients, or about 7.6 percent, participated in their appointment through telehealth.

Researchers found that 23 percent of patients who received no follow-up were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, significantly higher than the 14 percent who received in-person follow-up and the 15 percent of those who attended their follow-up appointment through telehealth.

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