HumanInsight Satisfaction and Feasibility of Videoconsultation (VC) in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prospective Study of 783 Patients
Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2022 Jun 4:103345. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2022.103345. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has required that specialists use videoconsultation (VC) to maintain continuity of care. As in-person consultations (IPCs) and surgical procedures were cancelled, VC became the tool of choice. No recent French study has assessed VC as the main consultation modality. The objective of this prospective study was to evaluate: 1) patient satisfaction, 2) access to and the future of VC, 3) and the reasons for VC refusal in the setting of the pandemic.
HYPOTHESIS: Patients responded favourably to VC.
PATIENTS AND METHOD: We conducted a prospective, single-centre, observational study of consecutive patients who were invited to switch from IPC to VC during the lockdown of March 16 to May 11, 2020, when IPCs were not available. All patients were included in the study, regardless of whether they accepted the VC. The reasons for refusal were recorded at the time of the invitation. The surgeons sent the patients who accepted an emailed satisfaction questionnaire after the VC.
RESULTS: Of the 783 patients with scheduled IPCs, 291 (37.2%) accepted a VC instead, 408 (52.1%) refused the VC, and 84 (10.7%) could not be contacted by telephone and were therefore excluded. The VC acceptance rate was 37% (291/783). Of the 291 VC patients, 233 (80.1%) returned the satisfaction questionnaire, although 2 questionnaires had too many missing data to be included, leaving 231 patients for the analysis. The VC was the first consultation with the surgeon for 66 (28.6%) patients. Of the 165 (71.4%) other patients, 51.6% (85/165) were receiving post-operative follow-up. On a 0-5 scale, the global VC experience was scored 4.3±0.8. Of the 231 VC patients, 161 (69.7%) felt that the VC was equivalent to an IPC, 18 (7.8%) that it was poorer, and 7 (3%) that it was better than an IPC; 45 (19.5%) had no opinion on this point. If choosing between a VC or an IPC had been possible during this first lockdown, 168/231 (72.7%) patients would have chosen an IPC. In contrast, 198/231 (85.7%) patients said they would choose an IPC after the lockdown. The group that refused the VC had a significantly older mean age (57.8±16.4 years vs. 48.0±14.4 years, p<0.0001) and lived closer to the institution (p<0.0001), whereas the sex distribution was comparable, with 42.9% of males (175/408) refusing and 46.8% (108/231) accepting the VC (p=0.39). The main reason for refusal was a wish for an in-person encounter with the surgeon (268/408, 65.7%). Patients aged ≥65 years were more likely to refuse due to technical considerations (access to electronic equipment and to the Internet), whereas patients ≤35 years were more likely to wait for an IPC.
CONCLUSION: The rate of satisfaction with the VC was high. Satisfaction was not significantly associated with the reason for the consultation (joint involved, degenerative or post-traumatic condition, first VC, first consultation, or follow-up before or after surgery). Although most patients who accepted the VC felt that this modality was equivalent to an IPC, many remained desirous of an in-person encounter with the surgeon, notably among the youngest individuals. Outside the setting of a pandemic, the IPC remains the consultation modality of choice for most of our patients.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV, prospective study without a control group.
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