Telemedicine in clinical gastroenterology practice: what do patients prefer?

Adi Lahat, Zina Shatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic has forced major changes on healthcare systems. Maintaining regular patients’ surveillance became a major challenge. Telemedicine has been promoted as an economic and effective way for long distance patient care. Our aim was to study patients’ acceptance and perspectives on telemedicine. Methods: Patients scheduled for clinic appointments were offered telemedicine. Those who agreed were asked to fill in a questionnaire assessing their satisfaction with the medical consultation. Patients’ demographic characteristics and answers were collected and reviewed. Results: Out of 358 patients approached 71 agreed to use telemedicine. Of them, 59 completed the questionnaire and were included in the study. All patients’ basic demographic data were collected. Patients’ included in the study mean age was: 43 ± 16.3 years, 35 (59.3%) women. Patients who chose not to use telemedicine were significantly older, mean age: 61 ± 15.2 years (p = 0.036), 134 (46.7%) women. Most patients included (38; 64.4%) had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Most patients who chose not to use telemedicine were non-IBD patients (206, 72%). Fifty-one patients (86.4%) assessed their experience as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Satisfied patients had significantly less time under medical follow-up (3.7 versus 6.1 years, p = 0.028) and tended to be younger (p = non-significant). Women were statistically significantly more satisfied than men (33 versus 18, p = 0.05). Advantages reported were ‘time saving’ (31.3%), accessibility (26.1%), availability (25%). The main disadvantage was absence of physical examination (70%). Conclusions: Telemedicine gained a high satisfaction rate among patients under regular medical surveillance. Most patients stated this that method is convenient, time saving and increases their compliance. Patients who agreed to telecare were younger, and tended to be of female gender and experiencing IBD. Further studies are needed to characterize specific barriers to telecare usage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • preference
  • satisfaction
  • telecare
  • telemedicine

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