HumanInsight Patient experience of virtual urogynaecology services during Covid-19 pandemic
Int Urogynecol J. 2022 Jun 28. doi: 10.1007/s00192-022-05268-5. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION AND HYPOTHESIS: Due to increasing burden on outpatient services, there is a drive from NHS policy makers to utilise virtual clinics to help curb unsustainable demand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, urogynaecology clinics were converted to telephone consultation (TC). We used this opportunity to evaluate patient perspective and identify which patients may be best suited to TC.
METHODS: Postal questionnaires were sent to patients following urogynaecology TCs in May to June 2020. Clinical outcome data were obtained from electronic records. The survey combined three validated tools: QQ-10, Patient Enablement Index (PEI) and NHS Friends and Family Test (NHS-FFT). Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed.
RESULTS: Of the 308 patients contacted, 165 responded (54%). Eighty-six percent of patients described their experience of TC as "very good" or "good" (NHS-FFT). Positive themes included convenience, thoroughness and feeling at ease in terms of communicating intimate symptoms. QQ-10 results demonstrated a mean value score of 77 and a mean burden score of 17 (range 0-100); 72% of patients "strongly" or "mostly" agreed to repeat TC. Following TC, 22% of patients were discharged, 72% required follow-up and 37% needed face-to-face (F2F) consultation. Post-operative patients and those with lower urinary tract symptoms benefited most, whereas many prolapse patients required F2F consultation.
CONCLUSIONS: We report the largest qualitative and quantitative study of patient experience of TC in urogynaecology. TC is a convenient, acceptable and effective medium for conducting patient care. TC can support patients in communicating intimate symptoms with health professionals.
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