Maintaining access to maternal fetal medicine care by telemedicine during a global pandemic

Andrea D. Shields, Richard K. Wagner, Dana Knutzen, Shad Deering, Peter E. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aims to compare a conventional medical treatment model with a telehealth platform for Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) outpatient care during the global novel coronavirus pandemic. Methods: In this study, we described the process of converting our MFM clinic from a conventional medical treatment model to a telemedicine platform. We compared clinical productivity between the two models. Outcomes were analysed using standard statistical tests. Results: We suffered three symptomatic COVID-19 infections among our clinical providers and staff prior to the conversion, compared with none after the conversion. We had a significant decrease in patient visits following the conversion (53.35 visits per day versus 40.3 visits per day, p < 0.0001). However, our average daily patient visits per full-time equivalent (FTE) were only marginally reduced (11.1 visit per FTE versus 7.6 visits per FTE, p < 0.0001), resulting in a relative decrease in adjusted work relative value units (6987 versus 5440). There was an increase in more basic follow-up ultrasound procedures, complexity (current procedural technology [CPT] code 76816 (10.7% versus 19.5%, relative risk [RR] 1.81, 95% CI 1.60–2.05, p < 0.0001)) over comprehensive follow-up ultrasound procedures, CPT code 76805 (17.2% versus 7.8%, RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.39–0.53, p < 0.0001) after conversion. Despite similar proportions of new consults, there was an increase in the proportion of follow-up visits and medical decision-making complexity evaluation and management CPT codes (e.g. 99214/99215) after the conversion (17.2% versus 24.6%, RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.26–163, p < 0.0001). There were no differences between amniocentesis procedures performed between the two time periods (0.3% versus 0.2%, p = 0.5805). Conclusion: The rapid conversion of an MFM platform from convention medical treatment to telemedicine platform in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic resulted in protection of healthcare personnel and MFM patients, with only a modest decrease in clinical productivity during the initial roll-out. Due to the ongoing threat from the novel coronavirus-19, an MFM telemedicine platform is a practicable and innovative solution and merits the continued support of CMS and health care administrators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-594
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Telemedicine
  • coronavirus-19
  • maternal care
  • pandemic
  • pregnancy
  • telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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