Telehealth has accelerated since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. As telephone visits become more common, it is important to examine the challenges involved in using this modality of care. In this study, we examined family physicians’ and pediatricians’ perceptions regarding three aspects of the use of telephone visits: quality of care, safety of care, and physicians’ satisfaction. A total of 342 family physicians and pediatricians responded to an online survey. Respondents were asked to rate their degree of agreement with 17 statements inquiring about quality, safety, and satisfaction with telephone visits on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). This was followed by in-depth interviews between January and April 2023 with 26 physicians. Participants expressed satisfaction (3.66 ± 0.80) with the use of telephone visits and lower assessments of safety (3.03 ± 0.76) and quality (2.27 ± 0.76) of care using the telephone modality. Eighty percent of the respondents think combining a face-to-face visit with a telephone visit is recommended, and 51% noted that the inability to examine patients closely affects and impedes a physician’s decision making. Most interviewees indicated that telephone visits are safe only with former patients they had already seen in the clinic. The findings shed light on the perceptions of family physicians and pediatricians regarding telephone visits. The lower assessments of quality and safety compared to the assessment of satisfaction underscore the need for careful use of telephone visits in healthcare. A proper and balanced selection of patients, implementing technological upgrades to the modality, and performing patient education practices are recommended.
- service assessment
- telephone visit