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A majority of surveyed patients and providers want to continue telemedicine follow-up visits after the pandemic ends.
A new survey revealed significant satisfaction with telehealth visits among endocrinology providers and patients.
In fact, many patients with chronic endocrine health problems who required close monitoring indicated a desire to continue telemedicine follow-up visits following the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
These findings were presented at the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting (ENDO 2021).
Led by Maryam Nemati, MD, San Joaquin General Hospital, CA, the survey included 109 patients who initiated telehealth visits through video or phone. The investigative team also assessed endocrinology providers, gauging their experiences with the virtual formats.
All patient visits were carried out from January 2020 – May 2020, and experiences (as well as no-show rates) before and after the onset of the pandemic were assessed.
Among the patients, 65% expressed they would like to continue with telemedicine after the pandemic.
Furthermore, 42% of patients preferred video visits, while 37% preferred phone calls. As many as 77% indicated that the quality of care with telemedicine, regardless of modality, was almost the same as in-person visits.
In terms of time spent in visit, 45% said they liked spending less time with telemedicine.
A majority (54%) noted that the duration of their telemedicine visit was about the same as in-person, and yet 54% also believed they spent less time with telemedicine.
Even more, an overwhelming majority (90%) indicated that all their questions and concerns were addressed through telemedicine.
However, a smaller proportion of patients reported no connectivity issues (37%) or technical difficulties (25%).
Compared to patients, a higher percentage of providers (75%) indicated desire to continue telehealth following the pandemic.
Furthermore, among those who wanted to continue with telemedicine, 50% reported that patient satisfaction was a benefit of telemedicine and 25% reported that it saved time.
Nonetheless, 46% mentioned inability to perform a physical exam as a drawback, with 60% indicating that as a significant limitation for phone visits.
As for video visits, 40% of providers reported that connectivity issues were problematic.
And finally, 75% believed that quality of care was comparable between video and in-person modalities. However, when compared with phone visits, 87% of providers believed that in-person visits offered better quality of care.
The investigators also found that the no-show rate decreased from 30% to 27% following the initiation of telehealth visits.
“Telehealth can be more efficient for both patients and providers, but there are challenges with connectivity issues, particularly for patients and community hospitals in rural areas like our hospital.” Nemati said in a statement.
“These issues need to be addressed, possibly through collaborations with local government and insurance companies,” she continued.
The study, “Evaluating the Use of Telemedicine in Endocrinology Clinic,” was presented at ENDO 2021.