Will the Telehealth trend have an impact on ADHD post-pandemic?
For years before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth delivery of medical services struggled to gain widespread adoption, industry support, and congressional backing.
The demand from patients wasn’t there, and the administrative burden of offering various ways to access care seemed insurmountable…
Major questions about the feasibility of such services remained unanswered:
- Would patients want to access service from home?
- Did the technological infrastructure support widespread adoption?
- Could patients and providers be trusted to create “in-clinic” standards at home? Would ADHD providers have a reason to adopt?
Data presented at both the 2021 ADHD World Congress, and the 2021 American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorder Conference (APSARD) sheds new light on both the technical feasibility of virtual ADHD services, the clinic response to a global crisis, and the long-term sustainability for ADHD patients ongoing.
Following 3 years of research, we launched remote access to FDA cleared QbCheck to support clinicians globally in providing remote ADHD care. In an audit the performance of remote testing of 6,159 patients was reviewed. Less than 3% of tests showed a technical error in a home setting. This low rate of technical errors in a remote setting was encouraging as patients globally are faced with various equipment and internet challenges.
Further utilization audits show that 93% of patients were able to successfully set up QbCheck as instructed before testing. The successful technical implementation of remote ADHD testing globally amidst a pandemic was further accented by surveys showing 95% of patients found instructions easy to understand and follow.
Demand for telehealth
With the question of technical feasibility out of the way, the question of implementation and demand remained:
- Would clinicians see the benefit by offering various access points for care for ADHD?
- Would adoption help to curtail the impact of the pandemic on ADHD evaluations?
- How sustainable would clinicians find this new model post-pandemic?
Between March and December of 2020, 52% of US clinics examined paused in-person ADHD objective assessment. By December 2020, 32% returned with a blended offering of both in-person and telehealth testing, while 9.4% chose to offer Telehealth testing only. 57% of those that initially paused all testing returned to in-person testing only.
In-clinic test volumes across all clinics examined hit their lowest point in April of 2020, a drop of 96% of the previous year’s volume. Clinics that adopted a blended approach to ADHD care, utilizing our Telehealth option and seeing patients in-clinic where necessary, bounced back by June 2020, while those that did not adopt Telehealth were still struggling to reach their pre-pandemic test volumes by December 2020. Overall, with the addition of telehealth options, we saw access to care increase by 10%.
The final question that loomed following the 2020 pandemic, was how sustainable would ADHD Telehealth testing be once restrictions began to lift? In 2020, 44% of clinics that started objective testing did so with Telehealth, in 2021 this has risen to 75% – a clear sign that ADHD providers are giving patients what they want, choice.