Telemed J E Health. 2022 Jun 14. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0517. Online ahead of print.
Introduction: The utilization of telemedicine has been steadily rising and became more available during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to ensure the continuity of care and minimize the risk of exposure to the infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate patients' and caregivers' satisfaction to newly developed teleconsultation services at the internal medical outpatient clinics at a tertiary university hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional satisfaction evaluation was conducted between April 2020 and June 2020. Participants included patients or caregivers who were randomly selected to answer a multi-item questionnaire to measure satisfaction with the quality, effectiveness, and convenience of the service. Results: A total of 901 participants completed the satisfaction survey. Most of the patients were in the age group 45-64 years (43.7%). The main teleconsultation method was telephone call (99.2%) and 798 participants (88.6%) were satisfied with the quality of teleconsultation. There was no difference in satisfaction levels across the various specialty clinics or age groups. The service was viewed as convenient by 636 participants (70.5%) and 481 (56.6%) preferred to continue using telemedicine after the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusion: The study revealed high level of satisfaction among patients and caregivers with the recently introduced teleconsultation services at internal medicine outpatient clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a relatively new concept in many countries. This opens the door to further utilize telemedicine as an integrated part to improve patient care beyond the pandemic.
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