Background: COVID-positive outpatients may benefit from remote monitoring, but such a program often relies on smartphone apps. This may introduce racial and socio-economic barriers to participation. Offering multiple methods for participation may address these barriers. Objectives: (1) To examine associations of race and neighborhood disadvantage with patient retention in a monitoring program offering two participation methods. (2) To measure the association of the program with emergency department visits and hospital admissions. Design: Retrospective propensity-matched cohort study. Participants: COVID-positive outpatients at a single university-affiliated healthcare system and propensity-matched controls. Interventions: A home monitoring program providing daily symptom tracking via patient portal app or telephone calls. Main Measures: Among program enrollees, retention (until 14 days, symptom resolution, or hospital admission) by race and neighborhood disadvantage, with stratification by program arm. In enrollees versus matched controls, emergency department utilization and hospital admission within 30 days. Key Results: There were 7592 enrolled patients and 9710 matched controls. Black enrollees chose the telephone arm more frequently than White enrollees (68% versus 44%, p = 0.009), as did those from more versus less disadvantaged neighborhoods (59% versus 43%, p = 0.02). Retention was similar in Black enrollees and White enrollees (63% versus 62%, p = 0.76) and in more versus less disadvantaged neighborhoods (63% versus 62%, p = 0.44). When stratified by program arm, Black enrollees had lower retention than White enrollees in the app arm (49% versus 55%, p = 0.01), but not in the telephone arm (69% versus 71%, p = 0.12). Compared to controls, enrollees more frequently visited the emergency department (HR 1.71 [95% CI 1.56–1.87]) and were admitted to the hospital (HR 1.16 [95% CI 1.02–1.31]). Conclusions: In a COVID-19 remote patient monitoring program, Black enrollees preferentially selected, and had higher retention in, telephone- over app-based monitoring. As a result, overall retention was similar between races. Remote monitoring programs with multiple modes may reduce barriers to participation.
- ambulatory monitoring
- facilities and services utilization
- race factors