The New Normal? Patient Satisfaction and Usability of Telemedicine in Breast Cancer Care

This article was originally published here

Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Jul 17. doi: 10.1245/s10434-021-10448-6. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Telemedicine was adopted to minimize exposure risks for patients and staff during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This study measured patient satisfaction and telemedicine usability in breast cancer care.

METHODS: Adult breast cancer patients who had a telemedicine visit at a single academic institution (with surgical, radiation, or medical oncology) from 15 June 2020 to 4 September 2020 were surveyed anonymously. Patient and cancer characteristics were collected, and patient satisfaction and telemedicine usability were assessed using a modified Telehealth Usability Questionnaire with a 7-point Likert scale. Associations of satisfaction and usability with patient characteristics were analyzed using Wilcoxon rank-sum and Kruskal-Wallis tests.

RESULTS: Of 203 patients who agreed to be contacted, 78 responded, yielding a response rate of 38%. The median age of the respondents was 63 years (range 25-83 years). The majority lived in an urban area (61%), were white (92%), and saw a medical oncologist (62%). The median patient satisfaction score was 5.5 (interquartile range [IQR] 4.25-6.25). The median telemedicine usability score was 5.6 (IQR 4.4-6.2). A strong positive correlation was seen between satisfaction and usability, with a Spearman correlation coefficient (ρ) of 0.80 (p < 0.001). Satisfaction and usability scores did not vary significantly according to patient age, race, location of residence, insurance status, previous visit commute time, oncology specialty seen, prior telemedicine visits, or whether patients were actively receiving cancer treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Breast cancer patients were satisfied with telemedicine and found it usable. Patient satisfaction and telemedicine usability should not limit the use of telemedicine in future post-pandemic breast cancer care.

PMID:34275045 | DOI:10.1245/s10434-021-10448-6