In a survey conducted by the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Impact Study Work Group, patients indicated that they were overall satisfied with telehealth visits during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Patients (n=2007) who had at least 1 telehealth visit during the pandemic in the United States were surveyed about their experience and satisfaction. The survey was available online between December of 2020 to February of 2021. Health care professionals (n=1594) were surveyed between July and August of 2020 for their experience with providing telehealth services.
Patient participants were 81.6% women and 82.5% White.
In the absence of telehealth, the patients indicated they would have delayed their care (54.5%), attended an in-person visit (46.7%), or self-treated their symptoms (28.3%).
The majority of patients (79%) indicated they were satisfied with their telehealth visit, that their physician listened to their needs (88%), and their provider was thorough (81%). Most (78%) were able to have a telehealth visit with their current health care provider.
The telehealth visit removed the barrier of transportation for many individuals (76%). Over half of respondents (67%) indicated the telehealth visit was less costly than an in-person visit. Most patients felt there were no privacy concerns (84%).
When asked to choose whether they would prefer an in-person or telehealth appointment in the future, fewer than a third of respondents indicated they would prefer an in-person visit. The patients who were aged 65 or older were more likely to prefer an in-person visit (31.4%) followed by individuals aged 51-64 years (30.6%), 18-30 years (30.4%), 31-40 years (26.2%), and 41-50 years (21.2%).
Clinicians indicated they had been using telehealth for 4-6 months, and few (<20%) had been providing telehealth services for longer than 1 year. Around a third of providers used zoom or the telephone to conduct their appointments. Most providers (~80%) conducted visits from their clinic.
Health care professionals indicated they had concerns about reimbursement, technology, and patient access to technology or digital literacy.
Clinicians who practiced in rural areas were more likely to agree or strongly agree (54%) that telehealth enabled them to provide quality COVID-19 care than those in suburban (45%) or urban (45%) areas. Care for other conditions such as acute or chronic care tended not to differ on the basis of area.
This study population was biased toward White women and may not be generalizable among a more diverse population.
These data confirmed previous studies which found overall satisfaction with telehealth services provided during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Telehealth Impact Study. The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Impact Study Work Group. Updated March 31, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://c19hcc.org/telehealth/
This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor