Telemed J E Health. 2022 Jul 12. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0509. Online ahead of print.
Background: Restrictive measures imposed to prevent COVID-19 contagion have caused an increase in waiting times for other health procedures. During the pandemic, utilization of telemedicine has increased to ensure patient care safely. The aim of this study was to evaluate the perspective of infertile patients who underwent virtual consultations for infertility. Materials and Methods: This was an observational study. A survey was submitted to patients who attended a virtual consultation at a single in vitro fertilization (IVF) unit between March 2020 and July 2021. The survey concerned their experience with telemedicine assessing the experience of video consulting and the software characteristics. Results: The survey response rate was 50.3% (n = 159). In total, 98.8% of patients positively rated the experience of telemedicine. Regarding the software itself, it was defined as intuitive and easy to use by 87.4% of patients. A majority (92.5%) of interviewed patients reported that they were able to receive the information and clear any doubts they had and 85.5% of interviewed patients would repeat the experience of video consultation. Conclusions: The acceptance of telemedicine was very high among infertile patients. However, IVF treatments have a strong emotional component and face-to-face consultation with medical staff might help to create the right climate of trust, and the empathy that can be demonstrated during a vis-à-vis meeting cannot be achieved through a screen. The use of telemedicine should be considered in those situations where it is not possible to attend an in-person consultation or when couples prefer it.
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