The Impact Of Patient Age On The Acceptability Of Telemedicine In The Context Of COVID-19
Briana Williams, Katelin McDilda, Melissa Bright, Reem S. Abu-Rustum
Dr. Reem S. Abu-Rustum
College of Medicine
Determine the extent to which patients from various age groups perceive telemedicine as a viable mode of healthcare delivery in the context of COVID-19.
A RedCap survey was sent to patients in our OB/GYN outpatient clinics with in-person, telemedicine, re-scheduled or cancelled appointments between 3/11/20 to 5/11/20. Patients’ online responses were analyzed using a 5-point Likert scale. Statistical analysis was determined using Chi-Square and Fischer’s Exact Analysis with p < 0.05 considered significant.
A total of 1083 patients completed the survey of whom 280 (25.9%) had a telemedicine appointment. They answered questions relating to the telemedicine visit. Younger patients, specifically those in the 25-34 age group, expressed greater dissatisfaction with their appointment being changed to telemedicine than older patients (p=0.02), and felt as if telemedicine did not accomplish the same goals as an in-person visit (p=0.01). Older patients did encounter a higher proportion of technological difficulties (p<0.0001). Nonetheless, all patients regardless of age were satisfied with the introduction to telemedicine (p=0.02) and the instructions provided to them prior to the visit (p=0.02).
Connectivity issues seem to be the biggest obstacle to older patients particularly when there is absence of a reliable internet connection and a telemedicine-compatible device. Younger patients, though less satisfied, are more comfortable with new technology and with using telemedicine; they tend to experience less connectivity issues. Our focus going forward should be on finding ways to simplify the process, overcome the connectivity issues while addressing the main reasons leading to patient dissatisfaction.
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