Matt Plow discusses how health care systems are adapting telemedicine for a post-pandemic world

Healthcare system in post-pandemic world

The telehealth landscape soared amid the pandemic as health care systems sought to provide patient access. More than three years later, experts say telemedicine can be leveraged with in-person services to improve patient experience and provide cost savings.

The number of physicians who report telemedicine as an active skill nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020, increasing from 20% to 38%, according to Doximity’s 2020 State of Telemedicine Report.

But conversations around telehealth began at Northeast Ohio’s major health care systems long before the world was upended by the pandemic. 


Dr. Matthew Plow, an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, recently concluded a clinical trial that examined the efficacy of delivering a fatigue management course for patients with multiple sclerosis in person versus by teleconference or internet.

Fatigue occurs in about 80% of patients with MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Plow said it’s one of the most common symptoms of the disease and that it can make it difficult for patients to engage in physical activity, which has been shown to decrease the symptoms of MS.

Traditionally, the fatigue management course takes place in an in-person, group format, Plow said. The purpose of the study was to see if one format was better than the others or if the delivery format mattered for this type of intervention.

Plow said the results showed that the internet and teleconference formats were not inferior to the in-person version.

“These remote distance delivery formats are as effective as these in-person formats at least in terms of promoting self-management education and changing behaviors,” he said.

Read the full article on Crain's Cleveland.