Patients satisfied with cost effectiveness, convenience of telehealth

Telehealth aims to provide patients with a flexible route to quality care, yet many experiences go unrecorded. A study published in Annals of Family Medicine aimed to add to the research on patient telehealth experiences to improve development and personalization of telehealth.  

“Telehealth in its many forms offers conveniences including increased care accessibility, decreased transportation barriers, and patient empowerment,” wrote Rhea E. Powell, MD, first author of the study, and colleagues. “Studies of video visits have demonstrated these benefits in specialty settings including wound care, prenatal genetic screening, family planning, cardiovascular care, and home care. Video visits are increasingly used in other settings, including primary care, but there are limited data on patient experiences with primary care video visits.

The study involved interviews with 19 participants after telehealth visits with their primary care physicians. Overall, patients reported satisfactions, and the majority would continue to use it instead of in-person visits. Patients reported convenience and low-cost as the main benefits to using telehealth, as well as feeling more comfortable receiving serious news in a familiar environment. Patients did have concerns about privacy and quality of care for physical examinations through telehealth.

“Primary care video visits are acceptable in a variety of situations,” concluded Powell and colleagues. “Patients identified convenience, efficiency, communication, privacy, and comfort as domains that are potentially important to consider when assessing video visits vs in-person encounters. Future studies should explore which patients and conditions are best suited for video visits.”