Caitlyn Coady, BFA, Anusha Agarwal, BS, James Desemone, MD, FACP, CPE
Due to its widespread human-to-human transmission and associated mortality rates across the world, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has impacted many aspects of the healthcare system, including delivery of care. With physical distancing orders in place, Albany Medical Center integrated telemedicine options for the outpatients it serves. With the sudden shift in patient-care structure, it was important to rapidly assess the effectiveness of this new virtual care system from the perspective of the patient. Additionally, this presented a unique opportunity to assess televideo across all medical specialties, which has not yet been published in peer-reviewed literature. In so doing, interventions could be introduced rapidly to enhance the patient care experience. The aim of our study is to analyze the perception of care by patients who attended a televideo appointment with an outpatient clinician. We hypothesized that more than 50% of those patients would have a positive experience and would not be opposed to attending more televideo visits in the future.
We published a 13-question survey on the Qualtrics® platform that addressed the patient's perception of care after attending a televideo appointment with a clinician of the Albany Med Physician Group practice. We included patients >18 years of age and excluded patients seen by psychiatry and pediatrics. From July 7, 2020 to Nov 2, 2020, survey links were emailed to all eligible patients the day after their televideo appointment and data were analyzed by the authors.
677 patients were emailed a link to the Qualtrics® survey. 116 responses were collected (completion rate: 17.13%). The demographic breakdown of those who responded was as follows: 76 females (65.5%), 38 males (32.76%); 71 patients were age 65 years or older (61.2%); 62 (53.44%) reported having a travel time of 30 minutes or greater and 16 (13.79%) reported having a travel time greater than 2 hours. 107 patients (92.24%) reported that their primary medical concern was addressed, with 87 patients (75.0%) were “extremely satisfied” and 19 (16.38%) were “somewhat satisfied” with the telemedicine care they received. 55% of an initial 31 responses reported technical difficulties, which was identified as an audio glitch with the portal app. This was brought to the attention of faculty leadership and the audio malfunction was addressed. After this intervention, 28% of patients responding reported continued technical difficulties, which included issues with connecting, poor audio, and poor video quality. 83 patients (71.55%) were “extremely likely” to utilize telemedicine again.
Our data show the perception of care by the patients was high even though many experienced technical difficulties. The study revealed that over 50% of patients rated their experience as “extremely satisfied” which supports the continued use of televideo as an outpatient appointment option.
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