HumanInsight Quality of virtual care for ambulatory care sensitive conditions: Patient and provider experiences
Int J Med Inform. 2022 Jun 8;165:104812. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2022.104812. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing has led to rapid uptake of virtual visits to deliver ambulatory health care. Despite widespread adoption, there has been limited evaluation of the quality of care being delivered through virtual modalities for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs).
OBJECTIVE: To characterize patients' and providers' experiences with the quality and sustainability of virtual care for ACSCs.
DESIGN: This was a multi-method study utilizing quantitative and qualitative data from patient surveys, provider surveys, and provider focus groups at a large academic ambulatory care hospital between May 2020 and June 2021. We included patients and providers utilizing telephone or video visits for the following ACSCs: hypertension, angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or asthma.
MAIN MEASURES: Quantitative and qualitative patient and provider survey responses were mapped to the Six Domains of Healthcare Quality framework. Provider focus groups were coded to identify themes within each quality domain.
KEY RESULTS: Surveys were completed by 110/352 (31%) consenting patients and 20/61 (33%) providers. 5 provider focus groups were held with 14 participants. Patients found virtual visits to be generally more convenient than in-person visits for ACSCs. The perceived effectiveness of virtual visits was dependent on the clinical and social complexity of individual encounters. Respondents reported difficulty forming effective patient-provider relationships in the virtual environment. Patients and providers felt that virtual care has potential to both alleviate and exacerbate structural barriers to equitable access to care.
CONCLUSIONS: In a large academic ambulatory care hospital, patients and providers experienced the quality of virtual visits for the management of ACSCs to be variable depending on the biopsychosocial complexity of the individual encounter. Our findings in each quality domain highlight key considerations for patients, providers and institutions to uphold the quality of virtual care for ACSCs.
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