HumanInsight Telemedicine-based approach to caring for patients with inherited retinal diseases: patient satisfaction and diagnostic testing completion rates
Ophthalmic Genet. 2022 Aug 29:1-5. doi: 10.1080/13816810.2022.2109681. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emory Ophthalmic Genetics Service (EOGS) adopted a hybrid telehealth-based care model, with patients undergoing a tailored panel of ancillary tests in addition to a video telehealth encounter with the EOGS physician. This study evaluates patient satisfaction with this model and effectiveness of these encounters in producing a clinical and genetic diagnosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A trained interviewer administered a 14-question validated patient satisfaction survey to eligible subjects between October 2020 and April 2021. A mean "favorability index" for patient satisfaction was calculated (maximum score = 5). Rates of ancillary testing, completion of genetic testing, and diagnostic accuracy were also assessed, and compared to results from a control group of EOGS patients that underwent in-person visits.
RESULTS: Twenty-one of 33 eligible patients completed the survey. Nine (42.9%) were female, with mean (± SD) age 51.3 ± 13.6 years. The control group was comprised of 49 subjects, predominantly female (71.4%), with mean age 51.5 ± 15.2 years. The mean (range) favorability index was 4.3 (3.1-5.0). Rates of ancillary testing were lower for the telemedicine group vs. the control group: 38.1% vs. 85.7% (p < .001) for electrophysiology; 42.9% vs. 71.4% (p = .03) for perimetry; and 81.0% vs. 95.9% (p = .04) for fundus imaging. Two (11.1%) and 1 (2.8%) (p = .21) subjects in the telehealth and control groups, respectively, did not complete recommended genetic testing. The clinical diagnosis was compatible with the genetic diagnosis in all subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest high patient satisfaction and diagnostic accuracy with a hybrid telemedicine-based approach for IRD care, despite lower rates of ancillary testing and no in-person examination.
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