Abstract | November 10, 2020

Evaluation of Telehealth in multiple aspects by patients and physicians

Presenting Author: James Yu, MD, Internal Medicine Resident PGY2, Department of Medicine, Adventhealth Orlando, Orlando, Florida

Co-authors: Summia Afridi MD, Hospitalist, Department of Medicine, Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown, NY; Luis Isea MD, Attending physician, Department of Medicine, Adventhealth Orlando, Orlando, FL; Jian Guan MD, PhD, Attending physician, Department of Medicine, Adventhealth Orlando, Orlando, FL

Learning Objectives

  1. To better understand how patients and physicians evaluate Tele-health..
  2. To learn whether there are any differences in satisfaction and viewpoint about telemedicine between patients and physicians.

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, most health care providers started to adopt the Telehealth model to comply with social distancing and minimize unnecessary exposure. This unprecedented transformation in medical practice poses great challenges to both physicians and patients. Little is known about how well internal medicine residents, faculty, and patients adapt to this new normal. We set up a survey to investigate the feedback of both physicians and patients to Telehealth visits.

Methods: Anonymous surveys with multiple questionnaires were conducted via phone call to patients or electric-survey to all faculty and residents in a tertiary community hospital internal medicine residency program from 04-07-2020 to 06-25-2020. Demographic information, number of Telehealth encounters, assessment of overall experience, satisfaction, and concerns of Telemedicine for both patients and physicians were collected.

Results: A total of 50 patients and 45 physicians participated in our survey. Most (84%) of patients in our cohort were first- or second-time users for Telehealth, 84% of patients were older than 40 years, and 60% were female. The majority of patients had positive experiences with Telehealth visits and would like to continue it in the future. 94% of patients felt like their concerns were adequately addressed despite 14% of them experienced technical issues during visits.

In contrast, the feedback from physicians was less positive than patients. More than 60% of physicians experienced technical issues during encounter and nearly 60% of physicians were neutral or not satisfied with Telehealth. Nearly 50% of physicians were reported to feel difficult to transition to Telehealth and only 29% of physicians felt the patients’ complaints were adequately addressed. Most physicians will have to schedule in-person visits after video visits.

In our statistical analysis, there was no significant difference in the rate of ‘like to continue telehealth’ between patients versus physicians; 44% vs72% (p=0.408, in Fisher Exact test). But interestingly, there was a significant difference in the satisfaction rate between patients and physicians; 84% vs 42% (p=0.024). Also, 94% of patients answered their concerns were properly addressed while only 29% of physicians answer the patient’s concerns were properly addressed. (94% vs 29%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Both patients and physicians revealed a strong tendency to continue telemedicine despite patients showed significant satisfaction to Telemedicine over physicians. Significant technical issues reported both from patients and physicians which remind us of the necessity of more technical and process improvement.

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