HumanInsight Telemedicine Use Among Physiatrists During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Potential for Future Use
Telemed J E Health. 2022 Jul 12. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0030. Online ahead of print.
Introduction: With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic causing the need for social distancing, telemedicine saw a significant increase in use to provide routine medical care. As a field, physiatry had already been implementing telemedicine prior to the pandemic. In this study, we characterized the use of telemedicine among physiatrists during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the barriers and facilitators to implementing telemedicine use in the field of physiatry in the future. Methods: Online survey of a cross-sectional sample of physiatrists. Analysis was conducted using logistic regression. Results: One hundred seventy one (n = 171) participants completed the survey. Before the pandemic, only 17.5% of respondents used telemedicine. In the logistic regression, physicians who used a hospital-provided platform were more likely to use telemedicine in the future compared with those who used their own secure platform, conducted a phone visit, and used a non-secure platform or other platforms. The three most popular barriers identified were "inability to complete the physical examination," "patients lack of access to technology," and "patients lack of familiarity with the technology." Discussion: Focus on education on telemedicine functional examination strategies and technology strategies for patients and providers (including addressing the digital divide and hospital-provided secure platforms) are potential targets of implementation strategies for greater telemedicine uptake for physiatrists in the future.
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