Factors associated with emergency department adoption of telemedicine: 2014 to 2018

J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2020 Sep 1;1(6):1304-1311. doi: 10.1002/emp2.12233. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Objective: Telemedicine is used by emergency departments (EDs) to connect patients with specialty consultation and resources not available locally. Despite its utility, uptake of telemedicine in EDs has varied. We studied characteristics associated with telemedicine adoption during a 4-year period.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 2014 National Emergency Department Inventory (NEDI)-New England survey and follow-up data from 2016 and 2017 NEDI-USA and 2018 NEDI-New England surveys, with data from the Center for Connected Health Policy. Among EDs not using telemedicine in 2014, we examined characteristics associated with adoption by 2018.

Results: Of the 159 New England EDs with available data, 80 (50%) and 125 (79%) reported telemedicine receipt in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Among the 79 EDs without telemedicine in 2014, academic EDs were less likely to adopt by 2018 (odds ratio, 0.12; 95% confidence interval, 0.03-0.46). State policy environment was not associated with likelihood of adoption. In 2018, all 7 freestanding EDs received telemedicine, whereas only 1 of 9 academic EDs (11%) did.

Conclusions: Telemedicine use by EDs continues to grow rapidly and by 2018, >3 quarters of EDs in our sample were receiving telemedicine. From 2014 to 2018, the initiation of telemedicine receipt was less common among higher volume and academic EDs.

Keywords: emergency department; healthcare policy; telemedicine.