Telehealth Resource Center

Telehealth Resource Center

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 24, 2022
2 min read
Save

Telehealth satisfaction 'promising' in pediatric rheumatology care

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Overall satisfaction with telehealth visits was high for pediatric rheumatology patients and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, though there may be areas for improvement, according to data published in Pediatric Rheumatology.

“While telehealth has been examined in adult rheumatology and other pediatric subspecialties, studies characterizing and assessing pediatric rheumatology telehealth implementation are sparse and were conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lindsay N. Waqar-Cowles, MPH, CCRC, clinical research program manager for pediatric rheumatology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues wrote. “The purpose of this survey study was to evaluate pediatric rheumatology telehealth visits from the patient/caregiver perspective after telehealth implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Telehealth
Overall satisfaction with telehealth visits was high for pediatric rheumatology patients and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, though there may be areas for improvement, according to data. Source: Adobe Stock

To examine satisfaction with telehealth in pediatric rheumatology, as well as the factors associated with that satisfaction, Waqar-Cowles and colleagues analyzed survey responses from 248 patients and their caregivers with an initial rheumatology telehealth visit between April and June 2020. Participants completed a post-visit survey that assessed a modified version of the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ) in addition to demographic and clinical characteristics. TUQ total and subscale scores were measured on a five-point Likert scale, with responses of “agree” or “strongly agree” being classified as positive. Descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon signed rank testing were used to analyze the results.

According to the researchers, the most common diagnosis among the included patients was juvenile idiopathic arthritis, at 33.5%. Nearly three-quarters of patients — 72.6% — were diagnosed more than 6 months previously, while 59.7% were prescribed chronic medications.

Positive responses were recorded in 81% of survey questions, with a median total TUQ score of 4 (IQR: 4-5). In the subscale analysis, “telehealth saves time traveling” had the highest median item score (median = 5, IQR: 4-5), with usefulness scores found to be the lowest (median: 4, P < 0.001). Subscale items that were scored significantly lower included convenience, providing for needs, seeing rheumatologist as well as in person, and being an acceptable way to receive rheumatology services.

“These data provide the foundation for understanding patient and caregivers’ satisfaction with telehealth in pediatric rheumatology and suggest that it is a promising mode of health care delivery,” Waqar-Cowles and colleagues wrote. “Further work is needed to design specific telehealth processes for pediatric rheumatology populations and assess outcomes.”

They added: “Given that telehealth is a rapidly emerging form of pediatric rheumatology care, we will need to engage patients, caregivers, multidisciplinary health care providers and our health network technology partners to design interventions to streamline care to improve patient satisfaction and overall experience.”