Effect of the COVID-19 induced phase of massive telehealth uptake on end-user satisfaction

Nicole J. Bate, Simon C. Xu, Maurizio Pacilli, Lynden J. Roberts, Chris Kimber, Ramesh M. Nataraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 has resulted in a massive increase in telehealth utilisation. Aims: To determine the user and clinician satisfaction during this period and compare to a pre-COVID-19 cohort. Methods: A prospectively collected voluntary questionnaire following the telehealth appointment at a tertiary-level hospital with all adult and paediatric-based specialities was conducted over two time periods: COVID-19 (16 March 2020 to 15 April 2020) and pre-COVID-19 (1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019). There were four groups of participants: patients; parents; adult-based clinicians; and paediatric-based clinicians. The outcomes assessed included perceived standard of care, willingness for repeat telehealth consultations, and patient and parental perceptions of safety. Results: Five thousand and thirty-three telehealth consultations occurred in the COVID-19 period with 1757 questionnaires completed, compared to 1917 consultations with 271 questionnaires completed in the pre-COVID-19 period. Clinicians were more likely to have previously used telehealth in both time periods than end-users. In COVID-19, 1240 actual onsite hospital outpatients' visits were prevented. All groups reported a good overall impression of the telehealth quality; patients/parents scored higher compared to clinicians: 3.6/4 versus 3.3/4, P = 0.02 (pre-COVID-19) and 3.3/4 versus 2.8/4, P = 0.001 (COVID-19). The majority of patients and parents (90%, 1379/1528) felt safer by having a telehealth appointment compared to a face-to-face appointment in the COVID-19 pandemic. All participant groups reported an overall good standard of care, good levels of engagement and were strongly willing to use telehealth again in both of the study time periods. Patients and parents consistently rated higher than clinicians. Conclusions: During a rapid increase in its utilisation and scope due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was generally well accepted by patients, parents and clinicians, which was consistent with pre-COVID-19 experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • healthcare
  • questionnaire
  • satisfaction
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

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