Revealing the Impact of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Telehealth Support Services
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated an explosion in telehealth adoption. Pediatric health care providers were no exception. A proponent of using technology to facilitate a medical home approach, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) saw an opportunity to expand health care access to children and adolescents in underserved areas. To do so, the AAP — a professional association of 67,000 pediatricians — implemented activities designed to support those both giving and receiving virtual care. Altarum was enlisted to evaluate these efforts and determine how to best support telehealth access and infrastructure during and after the pandemic.
The AAP was particularly interested in learning how to support providers, families, and caregivers within five areas of focus: general telehealth, behavioral health, adolescents, rural and underserved populations, and children and youth with special health care needs. Equity was also a concern, as uneven access to telehealth, due to limited access to high-speed internet or language barriers, could amplify existing disparities.
As the evaluation lead, Altarum took a mixed-methods approach, working collaboratively with the AAP to develop and implement a plan for monitoring and evaluating program activities; these included many programs and small pilots that needed to be evaluated mid-implementation. To understand the broader impact, we collected and analyzed process data from approximately 1,000 sources, including surveys, help-desk systems, grant applications, progress reports, interviews, and focus groups.
At the conclusion of the project, we provided AAP with a comprehensive report highlighting our key findings. The document detailed the program’s outreach and demonstrated its impact in each of the five focus areas — for an estimated total project reach of over 1.5 million.
To further AAP’s medical home and telehealth support efforts, we worked with the AAP Bright Futures initiative to draft a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The publication will share the perspectives of families and caregivers on how and whether racism should be addressed in pediatric health care visits conducted in-person or via telehealth.
By evaluating the AAP’s telehealth support program to learn more about what does and doesn’t work for providers and families, Altarum is helping to lay the groundwork for a more effective, sustainable, and equitable model of pediatric telehealth.
“It has been wonderful working with the Altarum team on this project and we are so appreciative of your partnership and collaboration.”
— American Academy of Pediatrics staff