J Huntingtons Dis. 2022 Aug 10. doi: 10.3233/JHD-220547. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The coronavirus pandemic saw technology evolve as outpatient clinics faced restriction of in-person visits. Reliance on telemedicine using two-way audio-video communication significantly increased. Telemedicine was observed to be convenient, cost-effective, reduced no-show rates, and fostered sustained engagement. Enhanced flexibility from short notice scheduling benefitted patients and their caregivers. Greater time value was perceived by patients, and reduced reliance on caregivers. Disadvantages included barriers of access to internet connectivity or equipment.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to retrospectively survey patients with Huntington's disease (HD) seen via telehealth in our HDSA Center for Excellence Multidisciplinary clinic. We evaluated usability, learnability, interface quality, reliability, and future use.
METHODS: This qualitative survey used the 21-item Telehealth Usability Questionnaire. Close-ended responses ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree scored on Likert scale (1 through 7). Averages were calculated to examine attitudes towards telemedicine. Spearman correlation test was performed to detect attitude biases between patients and caregivers.
RESULTS: Respondents were more likely than not to strongly agree with survey statements. Average attitude score of 5.92 (range 2.95-7.00) suggested favorability and improved convenience when telehealth was used in complement to in-person visits, without detriment to patient-provider communication. Spearman correlation coefficient between patient and family/caregiver groups was 0.023, which is below the cutoff of 0.344 for a = 0.05 at N = 24. This suggests there was no bias between patient and caregiver attitudes.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated telehealth is favored by caregivers and patients with HD. This population with specific physical, cognitive and psychiatric needs can benefit from adaptive systems that enhance compliance.
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