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Using data analytics for telehealth utilization: A case study in Arkansas.
Cengil AB, Eksioglu B, Eksioglu S, Eswaran H, Hayes CJ, Bogulski CA. Using data analytics for telehealth utilization: A case study in Arkansas. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2023 Mar 7; 1357633X231160039.
Many patients used telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we evaluate how different factors have affected telehealth utilization in recent years. Decision makers at the federal and state levels can use the results of this study to inform their healthcare-related policy decisions.
We implemented data analytics techniques to determine the factors that explain the use of telehealth by developing a case study using data from Arkansas. Specifically, we built a random forest regression model which helps us identify the important factors in telehealth utilization. We evaluated how each factor impacts the number of telehealth patients in Arkansas counties.
Of the 11 factors evaluated, five are demographic, and six are socioeconomic factors. Socioeconomic factors are relatively easier to influence in the short term. Based on our results, is the most important socioeconomic factor and is the most important demographic factor. These two factors were followed by , , and in terms of their importance as it relates to telehealth use.
Based on studies in the literature, telehealth has the potential to improve healthcare services by improving doctor utilization, reducing direct and indirect waiting times, and reducing costs. Thus, federal and state decision makers can influence the utilization of telehealth in specific locations by focusing on important factors. For example, investments can be made to increase broadband subscriptions, education levels, and computer use in targeted locations.