The Impact of Telemedicine on Sexual Medicine at a Major Academic Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Matthew J. Rabinowitz, Taylor P. Kohn, Chad Ellimoottil, Ridwan Alam, James L. Liu, Amin S. Herati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Telemedicine has the potential to improve access to care; however, its utility in the field of sexual medicine remains in question. Aim: To examine the importance of video visits for the treatment of male sexual medicine at our academic center during the period of peak telemedicine use in April 2020. Methods: We collected and compared deidentified data from all nonprocedure, adult outpatient encounters conducted as either office visits in April 2019 (n = 1,949) or video visits in April 2020 (n = 608). The primary International Classification of Diseases codes (ICD-10) labeled as diagnoses from all encounters were collected, with most encounters linked to several disease codes (n = 4,584). Demographic data were also collected. We performed comparative analyses on Stata (College Station, TX, USA) with significance set at α =.05. Main Outcome Measures: Disease codes were categorized based on their use and classification in urological care and the proportion that each category made up within the outpatient practice was calculated. Results: In comparison to the office visits, which took place in April 2019, male sexual medicine visits in April 2020, during the peak of telemedicine use, made up a significantly larger overall share of our practice (P =.012), defined by relative rises in encounters pertaining to male hypogonadism, infertility, penile abnormalities, and testicular abnormalities. Outpatients seen over video visits were also younger than outpatients seen during the previous year over office visits (58.9 vs 60.8, P =.008). Further, race and ethnicity characteristics in the outpatient population were unaffected during the period of telemedicine use. Conclusions: During the period of historically high telemedicine use following the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, encounters associated with male sexual medicine made up a significantly larger portion of our outpatient practice. Although the full influence of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be delineated, our findings suggest telemedicine use is compatible with the field of sexual medicine. Rabinowitz MJ, Kohn TP, Ellimoottil C, et al. The Impact of Telemedicine on Sexual Medicine at a Major Academic Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sex Med 2021;XX:XXXXXX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100366
JournalSexual Medicine
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Care
  • Male Sexual Impotence
  • Outpatient
  • Populations
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine
  • Urology
  • Vulnerable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Urology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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