Patient satisfaction in telemedicine in rheumatology outpatient clinic during COVID-19 level 4 lockdown
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a nationwide lockdown that came into effect at 23:59hrs on 25/3/2020 in an effort to minimise the viral spread. The rheumatology outpatient department then adopted a telehealth model of care for outpatient services during the lockdown period to continue the provision of patient care while maintaining social distancing.
Understanding the advantages / disadvantages from a patient’s point of view could eventually lead to the permanent transition of developing telemedicine as an essential future model of care in rheumatology clinical practice.
Aim: To assess patient satisfaction following their recent telephone consultation during the COVID-19 lockdown and the possibility of transitioning to telemedicine as a future model of care in rheumatology clinical practice.
Method: An in-house patient satisfaction questionnaire was developed from elements of the Leeds questionnaire and other sources. A list of patients (both new and follow-up) who received telephone consultation in the rheumatology outpatient clinic clinic during the COVID-19 lockdown were derived from business analyst data, and a randomised list of patients were contacted. Patients were contacted 1) via phone and/or 2) asked whether they would undertake the survey at their next appointment. The information was then collected and entered into a spreadsheet. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse discrete variables and thematic analysis used to group comments received.
- Contact was attempted in 32 patients of which eight were uncontactable and one declined to participate leaving a total of 23 patients who participated in the survey
- Data was divided into binary groups for gender, age, phone consultation consideration, video consultation consideration. Participants were also asked their preferences
- Patient demographics: Of the 23 patients, 13 patients contacted were greater than 65 years old and 10 were less than 65 years old. 10 patients were male and 13 patients were female.