Topic Spotlight


PCORI has funded 106 comparative clinical effectiveness research studies that answer questions about how well telehealth works for different populations under various circumstances, as of March 2021.


At least 75 PCORI-funded research studies that focus on telehealth include people who identify as racial/ethnic minorities.


At least 75 PCORI-funded research studies that focus on telehealth also focus on mental and behavioral health.

Telehealth Study Spotlight

What is an Online Care Model?

April Armstrong, MD, MPH, Associate Dean of Clinical Research, Vice Chair and Professor of Dermatology at the University of Southern California, defines what online care means to her PCORI-funded project which compared in-person visits to online care for patients with psoriasis and shares some of the advantages and concerns an online care model can have for patients and their clinicians.

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Online Specialty Skin Care as Effective as In-Person Visits

Adults with the chronic skin disease psoriasis who used an online program to get care from dermatologists and their primary care providers experienced as much improvement in their condition as patients who got in-person care in a clinic, this study found. The findings, reported in JAMA Network Open, add to evidence about the potential for telehealth to serve as a more widely accessible option for getting specialty care for chronic skin conditions.

Helping Children with Medicaid Initiate the Referral Process for Mental Health Care

Many children who are Medicaid participants with mental health problems don’t receive the care they need, in part because families must first undergo a complex referral process to community mental health clinics (CMHCs) for diagnostic and therapeutic mental health services. Reporting in Pediatricsthis study found that compared with parents who had usual referrals, those who had video chat referrals were three times more likely to finish screening for specialty mental health care at the CMHC.

Changes to Telehealth Policy, Delivery, and Outcomes in Response to COVID-19: A Landscape Review

This report provides a rich summary of how reimbursement, regulatory, and delivery systems have changed for telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic, and highlights some areas in telehealth where additional research may be valuable.

View the Landscape Review Report

Telehealth Study Spotlights

The Future of Telehealth Is Now

Telehealth’s use has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to remain a fixture of health care moving forward. PCORI-funded researchers are answering important questions about how best to harness its power, including how to reach populations with limited access to technology or who need culturally tailored interventions.

Childhood Hearing Loss in Rural Alaska

Many children growing up in rural Alaska get frequent ear infections, which can lead to hearing loss and other problems. This study is comparing a new process for referral to an audiologist using school-based mobile screening versus the usual standard of care where families of children who need further screening receive a letter inviting them to travel to a clinic for evaluation. The aim is to see which approach works best to identify children with hearing loss.

Do Exercise Programs Provided by Telephone or Internet Help People With MS

Clinics that provide exercise, yoga, and other nondrug therapies for people with multiple sclerosis are scarce in some areas. This study compares the benefits of an exercise program when patients receive it in a clinic versus at home via internet or telephone.