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Clinical Trial Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the delivery of ambulatory care in the US. One of the most notable changes to ambulatory care practice has been the rapid expansion of telemedicine services. Such expansion sought to preserve access to necessary care for patients while protecting them and their clinicians from undue risk of exposure to COVID-19. This multiphase, Veteran-centered approach to developing and evaluating a novel behavioral intervention to provide full cost transparency to Veterans will achieve the following aims: Aim 1: Create an automated system to generate personalized estimates of Veterans' full costs (travel costs, time costs, and out-of-pocket costs) for different types of primary care visits. Aim 2: Develop and refine a novel behavioral intervention that will help Veterans and their clinicians use personalized information about the full costs of different types of primary care visits in the VHA. Aim 3: Evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of the developed intervention to Veterans and their clinicians.


Clinical Trial Description

Within VA Primary Care, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an abrupt shift from mostly face-to-face visits to almost exclusively telephone and VA Video Connect (VVC) appointments. As the COVID-19 curve has flattened and personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies have stabilized, VA Medical Centers such as the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System are now grappling with how to match these opportunities for different vehicles for delivering ambulatory care to patients' needs and preferences. One highly promising, Veteran-centered way to match opportunities for face-to-face, telephone, and VVC visits in the COVID-19 era is to consider the value each visit type yields for an individual Veteran. Value for a given health care service is broadly defined as its health outcomes (i.e., benefits) per dollars spent (i.e., costs). From the perspective of patients, costs entail not just out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses but also travel and time costs. These costs are even more salient for many Veterans in the current economic downturn which, unfortunately, is unlikely to abate until the US fully emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Careful consideration of these full costs -- which can vary widely across face-to-face, telephone, and VVC visits -- by both Veterans and their clinicians could result in higher-value ambulatory care visits. For example, when services could be provided by telephone rather than a face-to-face visit, the former would result in much higher value for Veterans because there are no copays or travel costs for telephone visits. Similarly, when a face-to-face visit is necessary, transparent cost information could encourage Veterans and their clinicians to maximize the necessary services delivered, amplifying the benefits realized for the relatively higher patient cost of that particular type of visit. Despite the clear benefits of making patient costs more transparent, and of broader policy initiatives within VA to better inform Veterans' health care choices, Veterans and their clinicians currently lack the personalized cost information that they need to make high-value choices about ambulatory visit modalities. This project will make transparent the full costs to Veterans of different types of ambulatory visits in order to optimize the value of their health care investments in the COVID-19 era and beyond. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT05026684
Study type Interventional
Source VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Contact Jeffrey T. Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH
Phone (734) 845-3502
Email [email protected]va.gov
Status Recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date July 15, 2021
Completion date June 30, 2022

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