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COVID-19 Telehealth Delivery Reaps High Patient Satisfaction

Topic: COVID-19 Telehealth Delivery Reaps High Patient Satisfaction

Almost 80 percent of people who used telehealth during COVID-19 reported patient satisfaction, and over 70 percent expect to access virtual care post-pandemic, according to a new survey from the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.

The 20-question survey from the American Medical Association, American Telemedicine Association, Change Healthcare, and other healthcare stakeholders collected virtual care perceptions of more than 2,000 patients across the country.

Notably, over 80 percent of respondents (83 percent) reported good overall visit quality, and 78 percent said they felt their health concern could be addressed via telehealth. These findings were consistent across age, insurance type, and urban/rural status.

“The experience with telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes as the potential to deliver healthcare in much more safe and convenient ways,” Medical Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care Steve Ommen, MD, said in a press release.

“I think that years from now, we will point to 2020 as the year that the potential of digital care delivery became a reality, as long as the regulatory and reimbursement environment is conducive to its growth.” continued Ommen, one of the study’s co-investigators.

John Halamka, MD, MS, co-chair of the Coalition and president of the Mayo Clinic Platform noted that the survey results point to telehealth’s integral role in continuing care despite the pandemic.

“When asked what they would have done during COVID-19 if they didn’t have telehealth access, more than 50 percent of respondents said they would delay their care,” Halamka said. “This had been a large problem across the country over the past year and is a strong argument for expanding telehealth services.”

Most survey participants said that their virtual care visits were with their regular provider (78 percent), highlighting telehealth’s capability to maintain patient-provider relationships, a key aspect of patient satisfaction. Additionally, 83 percent of survey respondents said that they felt patient-provider communication was strong during their virtual care visits.

What’s more, telehealth removed transportation as a care access barrier for 76 percent of respondents, highlighting the technology’s ability to expand equitable access to care.

While 79 percent of respondents reported that they found it easy to use virtual care technology, patients ages 65 and older were the least likely to agree that telehealth technology was easy to use.

One of the members of the telehealth work group, Barbra G. Rabson, president and chief executive officer of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP), explained that more training is necessary to ensure telehealth is accessible for people of all ages.

“These findings are consistent with what we are hearing from patients in the surveys MHQP has conducted,” Rabson said. “While patients report overall that they are quite comfortable using telehealth to access care, particularly patients with chronic conditions, we still have much work to do to improve the technology and training in order to deliver fully on the promise of telehealth for patients of all ages.”

A previous COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition survey of 1,600 providers conducted in July and August of 2020 exhibited similar rates of satisfaction with telehealth among physicians. More than three-quarters of provider survey respondents reported that telehealth helped them deliver quality care.

Topic Discussed: COVID-19 Telehealth Delivery Reaps High Patient Satisfaction

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