Med Journal August 2021 - Page 12

case study by Mary Price , OD 1 ; Sami Uwaydat , MD 2 ; John Coleman 3

Instructor , Department of Ophthalmology , University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Little Rock , Ark .
Professor , Department of Ophthalmology , University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Little Rock , Ark .
MD Candidate , Class of 2023 , University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Little Rock , Ark .

Telemedicine Patient Satisfaction in Eye Care

The use of telemedicine has rapidly increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic . Many divisions of health care have looked to telemedicine for a solution to limit human interactions and the potential for exposure to the virus . This study employs a satisfaction questionnaire following the use of telemedicine in eye care to determine the patient ’ s level of satisfaction and comfort with the encounter . The majority of patients reported that they were satisfied with the telemedicine visit ; however , a smaller percentage of patients reported being willing to use telemedicine outside of COVID-19 circumstances .
Patient satisfaction is one of the key aspects in measuring quality of care in the field of medicine . Through the spread of COVID-19 , a number of health care systems had to alter the physician-patient interaction while maintaining a high quality of care . Telemedicine use has rapidly accelerated since the onset of COVID-19
1 and offers a solution to limit in-office visits and face-to-face interactions . The adoption of telemedicine allows social distancing as well as conservation of personal protective equipment .
In telemedicine , usability allows the physician and patient to conduct successful interactions and plays a large role in patient satisfaction . Usability is defined as the extent to which a system or product is used to achieve specific goals efficiently and effectively . 2 The technology delivery system used for telemedicine must be usable for both the physician and the patient .
To evaluate the usability of a telemedicine system , a satisfaction questionnaire may be conducted . Measuring this data provides a way to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of both the system used and the services provided . The telemedicine questionnaire employed in this study not only evaluates the usability of the system , but also focuses on satisfaction , confidence , and the patient ’ s level of comfort with the encounter .
This study aims to address whether the patient feels they benefited from the telemedicine encounter , if the patient trusts the services provided during the telemedicine encounter , and if the patient would opt for telemedicine when given the option between an in-office visit versus telemedicine . Furthermore , patient demographics will be evaluated to better categorize the population receiving care through the telemedicine system .
In this study , 50 patients , ages 1 year and older , were provided eye care through telemedicine between March 1 and June 1 , 2020 . The telemedicine encounters were conducted using the Google Duo platform . Patient phone calls were triaged during this time and , if determined appropriate , the patient was offered a telemedicine visit versus an in-office visit . Patients who opted for a telemedicine visit were asked to complete a five-question satisfaction questionnaire following the encounter . The questionnaires were conducted via phone call , email , or the MyChart messaging system . Forty-seven patients successfully completed the satisfaction questionnaire with “ yes ” or “ no ” answers to evaluate their telemedicine visit during the COVID-19 pandemic . The questionnaire may be found below :
1 . Was the telemedicine system simple and easy to use ?
2 . Were all your questions and concerns resolved during the telemedicine visit ?
3 . Were you comfortable communicating with the physician using the telemedicine system ?
4 . Are you confident that the proper management was delivered using the telemedicine system ?
5 . Are you willing to use the telemedicine system outside of COVID-19 circumstances ?
Patient-demographic data including age in years , distance from clinic in miles , visit frequency prior to telemedicine , and most recent best-corrected visual acuity was also analyzed to better characterize the participants completing the questionnaire . Per UAMS policy , the project did not require IRB approval .
Questionnaire results may be found in Table 1 . Patient demographic data may be found in Table 2 .
The questionnaire in this study was administered to patients to ensure quality of care and satisfaction with the telemedicine process in eye care . Upon analyzation of the questionnaire responses , data shows 74 % of patients who received a telemedicine visit during the COVID-19 pandemic reported the system was simple and easy to use . Greater than 90 % of patients reported having all of their questions and concerns resolved during the telemedicine visit . Greater than 90 % of patients also reported being comfortable communicating with the physician through the telemedicine platform . One hundred percent of patients were confident that they received the proper management .
Overall , these statistics show that patients were satisfied with the usability of the telemedicine system and the services
36 • The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society www . ArkMed . org