Telehealth Beneficial for Replacing, Supplementing Maternal Care

Similar and sometimes better outcomes seen with replacing or supplementing in-person maternal care with telehealth

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WEDNESDAY, July 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Use of telehealth instead of, or as well as, in-person maternal care results in similar and sometimes better clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, according to a review published online July 26 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Amy G. Cantor, M.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies of maternal care telehealth strategies versus usual care to examine the impact on maternal health outcomes. Data were included from 28 RCTs and 14 observational studies, with 44,894 participants.

The researchers found that for most studies of mental health and diabetes during pregnancy, maternal telehealth interventions supplemented in-person care, primarily yielding similar, and sometimes better, clinical and patient-reported outcomes compared with usual care. Similar or better mental health outcomes were seen with supplementing in-person mental health care with phone or web-based platforms or mobile applications compared with in-person care. Similar clinical outcomes and higher patient satisfaction were seen with a reduced-visit prenatal care schedule using telehealth to replace in-person general maternity care for low-risk pregnancies versus usual care. Telehealth strategies were heterogeneous and yielded obstetric and patient outcomes that were similar. Disparities, health equity, or harms were addressed in few studies.

"Replacing or supplementing in-person maternal care with telehealth-delivered care generally results in similar, and sometimes better, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction compared with in-person care," the authors write.

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