Patient satisfaction with tele- and video- consultation in the COVID-19 era – a survey of vascular surgical patients

Ann Vasc Surg. 2022 May 30:S0890-5096(22)00248-5. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2022.05.009. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in increasing use of telemedicine, due to the advantages of avoiding viral transmission. Evidence suggests that telemedicine, for certain conditions, may be as effective as face-to-face consultations; however, there is no research to date regarding vascular patients acceptance or satisfaction with telemedicine during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: A patient satisfaction interview was designed to survey three aspects of the service: patient acceptability of teleconsultations as a replacement to physical clinics; their views of teleconsultation during the pandemic; and the future role of teleconsultations post-pandemic. Patients undergoing remote teleconsultation (either by telephone or video software), between April and June 2020, were suitable for inclusion. Patients were contacted by telephone in August 2020 to undertake the survey. Local ‘Research and Development’ approval was obtained.

RESULTS: A total of 333 patients had a consultation with a vascular consultant between April and June 2020, of which 178 were teleconsultations. Successful contact was made with 72 patients, of whom 68 agreed to participate; 10 patients had undergone video consultations, whilst the remainder had telephone consultations. Teleconsultations were widely viewed as acceptable, and over 90% of patients felt they were beneficial. 91% felt that not needing to travel for appointments was advantageous to them. The option of teleconsultation during the COVID pandemic was valued by 94% of the cohort. Whilst all interviewees felt teleclinics should continue during the pandemic, the majority (74%) also wanted to use teleconsultations for clinic appointments after the pandemic.

CONCLUSION: Telemedicine is viewed by vascular patients as generally acceptable and beneficial for use during the pandemic. The majority of patients wanted future telemedicine appointments, post-pandemic. Telemedicine services started as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have been viewed as a temporary measure, should be planned as continuing long term.

PMID:35654288 | DOI:10.1016/j.avsg.2022.05.009