Patient and Provider Perceptions of COVID-19-Driven Telehealth Use From Nurse-Led Care Models in Rural, Frontier, and Urban Colorado Communities

J Patient Exp. 2023 Jan 25:10:23743735231151546. doi: 10.1177/23743735231151546. eCollection 2023.


The purpose of this study was to characterize the patient and provider engagement in the sudden telehealth implementation that occurred with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients and providers from 3 nurse-led models of care (federally qualified health centers, nurse midwifery practices, and the Nurse-Family partnership program) in Colorado were surveyed. Data from the Patient Attitude toward Telehealth survey and Provider Perceptions about Telehealth were collected. Patient respondents (n = 308) who resided primarily in rural or frontier communities were female, white, and Hispanic. Patients in urban areas used telehealth more frequently than in rural or frontier areas (P < .001). Rural/Frontier patients had significantly lower attitude scores than urban patients across each of 5 domains assessed. Telehealth modality differed across location (P < .023), with video calls, used more frequently by urban providers, and phone calls used by rural/frontier providers. Our data highlight differences in telehealth access and attitudes across rurality. These findings may contribute to future policy while addressing barriers to telehealth access and delivery.

Keywords: nurse models of care; practice patterns; rural health services; telehealth; vulnerable populations.