The future of healthcare service in orthopedic practice: Telemedicine or in-person visits?
J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2021 Jun 2:S1058-2746(21)00475-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2021.05.008. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study is to assess patient satisfaction and preference for telemedicine- versus in-person visits for outpatient shoulder and elbow musculoskeletal consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.
METHODS: Patients who had telemedicine visits for shoulder and elbow musculoskeletal complaints at a single institution from March through June, 2020, were invited to respond to a post-visit survey. The survey included a standardized questionnaire that focused on the patient’s satisfaction with the telemedicine visit(s) during the pandemic and preference for using the telemedicine platform in the future following the pandemic. Additional details regarding their virtual visits (severity of their medical condition, previous virtual- or ER visits) were also obtained. Data regarding patient demographics and visit details (primary diagnosis, type of visit, length of visit, treating physician) were extracted from electronic medical records.
RESULTS: In total, 153 patients participated in the study. Overall, high satisfaction scores regarding the telemedicine visit were noted: 91% of patients reported that their concerns were adequately addressed, 89% would recommend telemedicine to a friend and 94% stated that they would use this platform again in the presence of a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the majority of patients (76%) reported a preference for in-person visits for the same musculoskeletal complaint if it were not for COVID-19. A telemedicine visit duration of more than 10 minutes and a first-time telemedicine visit correlated with higher satisfaction rates (P=0.037 and P=0.001, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 has provided a boost to the use of our telemedicine platform, with a high satisfaction rate among patients with shoulder and elbow musculoskeletal complaints, largely due to safety reasons and limited access to in-person doctor visits. However, a considerable number of patients would have preferred in-person visits for similar health complaints if there were no pandemic. Further research on optimizing the selection of patients for telemedicine visits and addressing their expectations and concerns regarding their visits will improve patients’ preference for future telemedicine visits.
PMID:34089879 | DOI:10.1016/j.jse.2021.05.008
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