HumanInsight Provider and Patient Satisfaction with Telemedicine Voice Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
J Voice. 2022 Jul 18:S0892-1997(22)00211-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.07.009. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic expanded the use of telemedicine, but there is no literature exploring both patient and provider satisfaction specifically in the provision of voice therapy. This study aims to investigate patient and provider satisfaction with virtual voice therapy, its associated factors, and any correlation between the two.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study. Participants included 226 adults who underwent voice therapy delivered via telepractice at the USC Voice Center between April and October 2020. Patients and providers self-reported their level of satisfaction on a visual analog scale (VAS; range 0-100). Patient satisfaction was additionally measured using a previously validated Telemedicine Satisfaction Questionnaire (TSQ; range 1-5), and a binary question about their desire to choose telemedicine over in-person therapy in the future. Three speech-language pathologists rated provider satisfaction for all 226 patients. Patient satisfaction survey was completed by 55 patients. Multivariable linear regression analyses and linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the results.
RESULTS: Patient and provider mean (SD) VAS satisfaction scores were 86.8 (18.6) and 80.6 (19.7), respectively. The mean (SD) TSQ score was 4.4 (0.6). In a multivariable model, patient satisfaction levels were significantly higher for hypofunctional than for hyperfunctional dysphonia diagnoses. Forty-four (73%) patients reported they would prefer telemedicine voice therapy over in-person appointments, which was significantly correlated with internet reliability (P = 0.04). For providers, satisfaction was significantly lower for patients whose diagnosis had changed after initiation of voice therapy (Δ = -16.0 [95% CI: -28.7 to -3.2]) and for encounters with Asian patients compared to White patients (Δ = -11.6 [95% CI: -18.9 to -4.2]). Patient and provider satisfaction scores were weakly correlated (r = 0.19).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that virtual voice therapy is not simply an alternative to in-person service, but rather an effective method useful beyond the current pandemic with proper diagnosis and technical support.
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