HumanInsight A comparison of in-person versus telephone consultations for outpatient hospital care
Future Healthc J. 2022 Jul;9(2):154-160. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2022-0006.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has triggered a transition towards telemedicine for delivering outpatient care. The evidence base for telemedicine is heterogeneous and its efficacy remains debated. We, therefore, designed a mixed-methods semi-structured survey to evaluate patients' and clinicians' experiences of outpatient telemedicine clinics during the pandemic. One-hundred and eighty-eight patients and 69 clinicians from two hospitals in Gloucestershire completed the survey. The quantitative results for patients rated in-person and telemedicine appointments similarly in all areas except communication (p<0.001) and overall quality (p=0.004), both in favour of in-person consultations, while clinicians rated all aspects of telemedicine appointments as inferior, with the exception of convenience (p=0.643). Qualitative analysis highlighted themes of communication and relationship building difficulties, confidentiality concerns, loss of visual inspection as a clinical tool and debatable time efficiency associated with telemedicine. Significant adaptation of current telemedicine services is required before it will be integrated into current practice.
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