Patient satisfaction with medical and social concerns addressed during telemedicine visits
Purpose: The use of telemedicine dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Assessing patient satisfaction with this mode of healthcare delivery is an important metric of success as it is broadly implemented across various settings. Of additional importance are the ways social determinants of health impact health outcomes, with the first step in determining the scale of this impact being the identification of contributing factors. This study assesses patient satisfaction with the medical and social aspects of the care they receive via telemedicine at a university-affiliated primary care training clinic in Detroit, Michigan.
Methods: A survey was designed to assess patient satisfaction with the technical aspects of the visit, the visit itself, and with the social determinants screening tool used. During July 2020, 167 patients who had at least one telemedicine visit with a primary care physician from the clinic in the preceding months were contacted to assess their impression of the service provided. The responses were used to evaluate patient satisfaction with the comprehensive care provided via the telemedicine visit.
Results: Of the 167 patients contacted, 79 (47%) completed the survey. Respondents' age ranged from 18-74 years, with 66% identifying as female and 34% as male. For many, this was their first experience with telemedicine. The vast majority expressed comfort in sharing details about their health concerns via telemedicine, with only 3% reporting they were “uncomfortable.” More than half of the patients (60%) felt some level of comfort with telemedicine after their first encounter; 14% stated that they were still uncomfortable, and 26% were neutral. Most of the patients (88%) asserted their willingness to participate in future telemedicine visits. Just under two-thirds (63%) of participants “strongly agreed” that concerns related to their social determinants of health were addressed, and 59% “strongly agreed” that the resources provided by their physician were helpful.
Conclusion: This survey evaluates multiple dimensions of patient satisfaction with their physician using technology to deliver a telemedicine visit instead of an in-office visit. Telemedicine was well received, with high satisfaction for addressing medical and social concerns. The results of this study support the use of telemedicine to assess social determinants of health in an underserved minoritized patient population and will help physicians optimize future interactions with patients through telemedicine.
Abraham H N, Acuff C, Brauer B, et al. Patient satisfaction with medical and social concerns addressed during telemedicine visits. Cureus. 2022;14(12): e32529. doi:10.7759/cureus.32529.