Med Journal August 2021 - Page 13

Table 1 : Satisfaction Questionnaire Results
Number & Percentage of YES & NO Answers to COVID-19
Telemedicine Questionnaire
# YES
# NO
TOTAL
% YES
% NO
Responses
Responses
Responses
Question 1
35
12
47
74 %
26 %
Question 2 46 1 47 98 % 2 % Question 3 43 4 47 91 % 9 % Question 4 47 0 47 100 % 0 % Question 5 25 22 47 53 % 47 % TOTAL 196 39 235 83 % 17 %
Table 2 : Patient Demographics
Age ( years ) n %
< 40yrs
14
29.8 %
40-59yrs
14
29.8 %
60-79yrs 18 38.3 % 80 + yrs 1 2.1 % Distance from Clinic ( miles ) < 20mi 27 57.4 % 20-39mi 5 10.6 % 40-59mi 5 10.6 % 60 + mi 6 12.8 %
No street address on file
provided by the physician . In comparison , only 53 % of patients reported that they are willing to use the telemedicine system outside of COVID-19 circumstances . This data point represents the value a patient holds regarding a face-to-face encounter with a physician .
Patient demographic analysis allows better characterization of the population completing the telemedicine satisfaction questionnaire . The largest age population
4 8.5 %
Visit Frequency Prior to Telemedicine ( months )
New patient 5 10.6 % < 4mos 26 55.3 % 4-7mos 11 23.4 % 8-11mos 0 0 % > 11mos or PRN 5 10.6 %
No Snellen acuity documented
Most Recent Visual Acuity in Better Eye receiving a telemedicine encounter in this study was the age group of “ 60-79 years ” totaling 38.3 % of encounters . Patients in this specific age group are more likely to have motility issues , a need for transportation or a visitor to accompany them for an in-office visit . In regards to COVID-19 , this age group may also have taken greater precautions to avoid unnecessary human interactions and the potential for exposure to the virus .
Looking at the patient ’ s distance from clinic ( in miles ), 57.4 % of patients lived within 20 miles from the clinic . This statistic may have no correlation with the telemedicine encounter , but likely represents the clinical population as a whole living within close proximity to their eye care provider .
4 8.5 %
Better than 20 / 40 35 74.4 % 20 / 40 to 20 / 60 4 8.5 % 20 / 70 to 20 / 100 2 4.3 % Worse than 20 / 100 2 4.3 %
The frequency of in-office visits prior to telemedicine was less than four months for the largest population group . This visit frequency category consisted of 55.3 % of all patients receiving a telemedicine visit . Patients seen more frequently by an eye care provider are more likely to have a complex ocular history with close follow-up visits . They may also have a greater likelihood for recurrence of ocular problems . A telemedicine encounter helped reduce the number of trips these patients had to make to the clinic and decreased their potential exposure to COVID-19 .
The majority of patients receiving a telemedicine visit in this study had a visual acuity measurement “ better than 20 / 40 .” This population consisted of 74.4 % of all telemedicine encounters . Patients with better visual acuity may be less concerned about their eyes compared to those with decreased vision , and may therefore be more comfortable completing an ocular evaluation through a telemedicine platform .
In conclusion , telemedicine offers a solution to limit in-office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic . From the satisfaction questionnaire completed in this study , it may be concluded that patients were satisfied with the telemedicine system and the encounter with the physician . It may also be concluded that patients value the face-to-face encounter with the physician , since only about half of all patients surveyed would choose telemedicine over an in-office visit outside of COVID-19 circumstances . Further research could be conducted to identify specific patient encounters most appropriate for a telemedicine platform .
References
1 . Hare N , et al . Work Group Report : COVID-19 : Unmasking Telemedicine . J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract . 2020 Sep ; 8 ( 8 ): 2461 – 2473 . e3 . Published online 2020 Jun 27 .
2 . Parmanto B , Lewis AN , Graham K , Bertolet M . Development of the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire . Int J Telerehabil . 2016 Spring ; 8 ( 1 ): 3 – 10 . Published online 2016 Jul 1 .
Volume 118 • Number 2 august 2021 • 37