Patient satisfaction high with teledermatology visits during pandemic
Patient perception of teledermatology visits during the COVID-19 pandemic have been mostly positive, seen as a convenient and safe method of dermatology care, according to a survey study.
“Given the sudden need to pivot to utilize telemedicine to both continue caring for our established patients and to also offer care to new patients due to the pandemic, our department wanted to see how well this sudden shift was perceived by said patients,” study co-author Adam J. Friedman, MD, FAAD, professor and interim chair of dermatology at George Washington University, told Healio.
Surveys were sent to 894 patients who had attended at least one telehealth appointment at the GW Dermatology Clinic. Six hundred patients opened the email with 168 (28%) responding and participating in the study.
Participants were asked to rate why they liked or did not like their telehealth appointment. Being time efficient was the most common reason telehealth was liked (81.1%), followed by not requiring transportation (74.2%) and being able to maintain social distancing (73.6%). A lack of physical touch was the most common reason patients did not like their appointment (26.8%), followed by feeling they received an inadequate assessment (15.7%).
When asked if they felt telehealth was an adequate substitute for in-person dermatologist visits 55% agreed, 25% disagreed and 20% were neutral. When asked if they would recommend the service to others 74.2% said they would, 6.9% said they would not and 18.9% were neutral.
“We showed that patients really did appreciate the service, that it certainly was a great alternative to both seek and maintain care,” Friedman said. “We showed that patients do feel like they’re getting quality care utilizing telemedicine and that they would recommend it to a friend or family member.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for telehealth, Friedman believes this data could be beneficial in planning for a future in which telehealth is a regular part of a dermatologist’s repertoire.
“I hope this is one of several stepping-stones showing that teledermatology specifically is effective, efficient, cost-saving and improves access,” he said.