University of Washington researchers found a significant move toward telemedicine visits and reduced in-person clinic testing in the early days of the pandemic among PHA-accredited Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC).

Josh Lee, M.D., and Peter Leary, M.D., discuss their findings in the July 29 edition of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

“A Survey-based Estimate of COVID-19 Incidence and Outcomes among Patients with PAH or CTEPH and Impact on the Process of Care,” was based on the responses of 58 PHCC directors about changes in clinical operations because of COVID-19.

In addition to increased televisits, the study found a widespread shift away from in-person clinic visits and a disruption in diagnostic testing and research activities.

Of the PHCCs with a high prevalence of COVID-19, just 9% used telemedicine visits before the pandemic. That jumped to 91% for telephone visits and 97% for videoconferencing during the pandemic.

Now that telemedicine is likely to remain an ongoing part of clinical care, the PHA Registry (PHAR) plans to work toward collecting data through telehealth visits.

PHAR collects data from people with PAH, pediatric PH due to developmental lung disease and Group 4 PH (chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, or CTEPH) who are starting evaluation and/or treatment at a PHCC. The data help researchers identify and evaluate trends to ultimately improve patient care.