Patient experience and healthcare utilization for a COVID-19 telemedicine home monitoring program offered in English and Spanish

PLoS One. 2022 Jun 30;17(6):e0270754. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0270754. eCollection 2022.


Background: Telemedicine is a vital component of the healthcare system's response to COVID-19. In March of 2020, Providence health system rapidly implemented a telemedicine home monitoring program (HMP) for COVID-19 patients that included use of at-home pulse oximeters and thermometers and text-based surveys to monitor symptoms. By June 2020, Providence updated the HMP to be offered in Spanish. This program was implemented before COVID-19 testing was readily available and therefore was offered to all patients suspected of having COVID-19. This study examines engagement, experience, and utilization patterns for English and Spanish-speaking patients engaged in the COVID-19 HMP.

Methods: A retrospective review of program data was used to understand HMP patient engagement (responsiveness to three daily text to monitor symptoms), satisfaction with the program (likelihood to recommend the program) as well as comfort using home monitoring devices and comfort recovering from home. To understand impact on care for COVID-19 confirmed cases, we used electronic health records to measure patterns in healthcare use for COVID-19 positive HMP participants and non-HMP propensity weighted controls. All patients enrolled in the COVID-19 HMP from March-October 2020 were included in the study. Patients tested for COVID-19 during the time window and not enrolled in HMP were included in the propensity-weighted comparison group. Descriptive and regression analyses were performed overall and stratified by English and Spanish speakers.

Results: Of the 4,358 HMP participants, 75.5% identified as English speakers and 18.2% identified as Spanish speakers. There was high level of responsiveness to three daily text-based surveys monitoring symptoms engagement (>80%) and a high level of comfort using the home monitoring devices (thermometers and pulse oximeters) for English- and Spanish-speaking participants (97.3% and 99.6%, respectively). The majority of English (95.7%) and Spanish-speaking (100%) patients felt safe monitoring their condition from home and had high satisfaction with the HMP (76.5% and 83.6%, respectively). English and Spanish-speaking COVID-19 positive HMP participants had more outpatient and emergency departments (ED) encounters than non-participants 7 and 30 days after their positive test.

Conclusion: This widely implemented HMP provided participants with a sense of safety and satisfaction and its use was associated with more outpatient care and ED encounters. These outcomes were comparable across English and Spanish-speakers, highlighting the importance and potential impact of language-concordant telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Telemedicine*

Grants and funding

KV; no grant number; Providence St. Joseph Foundation; The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.