PURPOSE The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced healthcare officials to implement new policies, such as the use of virtual consultations over office-based medical appointments, to reduce the transmission of the virus. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively compare patients’ experiences with virtual outpatient telemedicine encounters at a single academic institution in interventional radiology (IR) and in-person visits during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS The TeleENT Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Medical Communication Competence Scale (MCCS) were used to survey patients’ satisfaction with both in-person and virtual office visits. RESULTS Ninety respondents (38 in-person and 52 virtual) acknowledged numerous benefits of virtual visits versus in-person office visits including reductions in time, cost, and potential viral transmission risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. No statistically significant difference was noted, based on a Likert scale from 1 to 7, between in-person and virtual visits (all P >.05) for schedulingrelated factors. No statistically significant difference was noted in any of the MCCS subscales between the 2 cohorts with regard to medical information communication (all P >.05). A majority of patients with virtual encounters (82.7%) stated that it was easy to obtain an electronic device for use during the telemedicine visit, and 73.1% of patients felt that setting up the telemedicine encounter was easy. CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates that telemedicine is an acceptable alternative to in-office appointments and could increase access to IR care outside of the traditional physician–patient interaction. With telemedicine visits, patients can communicate their concerns and obtain information from the doctor with noninferior communication compared to in-person visits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine