HumanInsight Adult Hematology/Oncology Patient Perspectives on Telemedicine Highlight Areas of Focus for Future Hybrid Care Models
Telemed J E Health. 2022 Oct 3. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0331. Online ahead of print.
Introduction: Telemedicine use expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but publications analyzing patient perspectives on telemedicine are few. We aimed to study whether patient perspectives offer insights into how best to utilize telemedicine in the future for hematology and cancer care. Methods: A modified Telemedicine Satisfaction and Usefulness Questionnaire (TSUQ) was sent to adult hematology/oncology outpatients at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Clinic who had ≥1 prior phone and/or video visit between March 15, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Two focus groups were subsequently conducted with volunteers who completed the survey. We evaluated dichotomized TSUQ items using logistic regression, and focus group data were analyzed qualitatively using constant comparison analysis. Results: Of 7,848 invitations, 588 surveys were completed. Focus groups included 16 survey respondents. Most respondents found telemedicine satisfactory, easy to use, and convenient, with the majority preferring a hybrid approach going forward. Oncology patients, females, and higher income earners endorsed decreased telemedicine satisfaction. Concerns were voiced about fewer in-person interactions, communication gaps, and provider style variability. Discussion: Adult hematology/oncology patients had varied perspectives on telemedicine utilization success based on gender, income, and disease burden, suggesting that a one-size-fits-all approach, as was implemented nearly universally during the COVID-19 pandemic, is not an ideal approach for the long term. Given that telemedicine use is likely to remain in some form in most centers, our findings suggest that a nuanced and tailored approach for some patient subgroups and using feedback from patients will make implementation more effective.
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