HumanInsight Telehealth Visits After Shoulder Surgery: Higher Patient Satisfaction and Lower Costs
J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2022 Jul 6;6(7). doi: 10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-22-00119. eCollection 2022 Jul 1.
INTRODUCTION: Studies comparing the cost of in-person and virtual care are lacking. The goal of this study was threefold (1) to compare the cost of telemedicine visits with in-person clinic visits after common shoulder surgeries, (2) to measure the safety, and (3) to evaluate patient experience with telemedicine visits.
METHODS: The In-Person Visit cohort (N = 25) and the telemedicine cohort (Virtual Visit cohort, N = 24) were selected from patients undergoing routine follow-up of common shoulder procedures. Time-driven activity-based costing was used to determine costs associated with each episode of care. Patient complications, satisfaction, convenience, and technical difficulties associated with telehealth were recorded.
RESULTS: The average Virtual Visit was 54.1% less costly and 87.8% shorter than the In-Person Visit ($49 versus $107 per patient, 8.6 versus 70.1 minutes per patient, P < 0.01, respectively). One complication was missed in the Virtual Visit cohort, later captured by an in-person visit. All patients in the Virtual Visit cohort reported that the virtual visit was safe and convenient and showed high levels of satisfaction.
DISCUSSION: Virtual visits for postoperative care of patients undergoing shoulder surgery are associated with decreased costs and high ratings of convenience and satisfaction. Postoperative complications may be more challenging to diagnose virtually.
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