Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university had only dabbled in telehealth. But, in order to launch a platform practice-wide, UTHealth Houston quickly rolled out a small telemedicine pilot program in April 2020.
The program grew to include 2,500 clinicians and clinical staff accessing the telemedicine platform and hosting about 5,000 virtual appointments per month. It went from a novelty to the norm. At one point, some of the health care professionals at UT Physicians were seeing nearly 100% of their patients online.
The platform has since settled into its own niche, accounting for 15%-20% of primary care visits. As the field of telehealth continues to evolve, the university anticipates it will be more widely used for chronic disease management, mental health, and patients with minor symptoms.
The goal is for UTHealth Houston to provide the same exceptional, compassionate, and comprehensive care during a telehealth visit - just as patients would receive during an in-person visit.