Comparing Patient Reported Satisfaction Following Telehealth and In-Person Medical Encounters
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Purpose/Objective(s): Telehealth patient encounters can increase access to healthcare and allow for its provision in a safe manner during pandemics. Telehealth is particularly important for oncology patients who might be at risk of severe infections during potential periodic increases of COVID-19 infections. There is a lack of studies examining the impact of telemedicine on quality of care. Herein, we report our recent institutional experience with patient reported satisfaction and engagement during telehealth encounters. Materials/Methods: Following each medical encounter in our radiation oncology department, patients are invited to complete a National Research Corporation (NRC) survey rating their satisfaction. We retrospectively analyzed the available survey results for patients who had a medical encounter between March 2020 and January 2022 at any of the four radiation oncology facilities within our institution. We examined patient responses to four questions including “provider would recommend” and “facility would recommend”, both rated on a scale of 1-10, with 10 indicating the highest likelihood. The other two questions included “had enough input” into care, and “good communication with staff”, both rated on a Likert scale from 1 to 4 (1 as “No”, 2 as “Yes, somewhat”, 3 as “Yes, mostly”, 4 as “Yes, definitely”). We dichotomized the results for each question as favorable or unfavorable, with favorable being a score ≥9 for the first two questions, or ≥3 for the remaining questions. We used univariate (UVA) and multivariable (MVA) logistic regression analyses to compare telehealth and in-person encounters. Odds ratio (OR) were calculated for each question. Results: We collected 5,672 surveys, of which 1,027 (18%) were for telehealth encounters. For all four of the examined categories in the survey, patients reported less satisfaction following telehealth visits compared to in-person visits in UVA and MVA logistic regression analyses. For MVA, we included type of encounter, patient age, patient race, patient sex, facility location, type of insurance, and year of visit. The MVA OR of a patient reporting < 9 for a telehealth compared to an in-person encounter were 1.46 ((95% CI 1.1-1.9, P 0.007) for “had enough input” into care, 1.46 (95% CI 1.1-1.9, P 0.007) for “good communication with staff”, 1.43 (95% CI 1.1- 1.86, P 0.007) for “facility would recommend”, and 1.57 (95% CI 0.92-2.59, P 0.08) for provider would recommend. Conclusion: In this retrospective analysis, we found that patients were less likely to report high satisfaction with telehealth compared to in-person encounters. Further research is needed to address potential limitations of telemedicine encounters to increase access to health, particularly for patients at risk of severe infections, without compromising overall quality of care.
Robertson J, Almahariq MF, Quinn TJ, Ye H, Rutka E, Qu L. Comparing patient reported satisfaction following telehealth and in-person medical encounters. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Oct;117(2 Suppl.):S125. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.06.467