Patient satisfaction with telemedicine visits conducted via phone is high and noninferior to those conducted via video, according to results of a study published in The American Journal of The Medical Sciences.
To compare patient satisfaction with phone vs video telemedicine delivery methods, researchers conducted a parallel group, randomized, single-blinded, noninferiority trial at a tertiary academic medical center. Eligible patients included those aged 60 years and older and/or those insured by Medicare or Medicaid. Patients scheduled for a routine follow-up visit were randomly assigned in a 1:1 fashion to undergo either a phone or video telemedicine visit. The primary outcome was patient satisfaction, defined as a score of 9 or 10 on a 10-point validated visit satisfaction scale. Noninferiority was determined if patient satisfaction with phone visits was no worse than video visits by a prespecified margin of 15%. Modified intention-to-treat (mITT) and per protocol analyses were performed, with adjustments for patient age and type of insurance.
A total of 200 patients were included in the mITT analysis, of whom 43% were Black, 68% were women, and 74% had completed at least some college education.
In the mITT analysis, satisfaction rates between patients in the phone vs video groups differed by 3.2% (95% CI, -7.6 to 14), indicating phone visits were noninferior to video visits (P <.0001). Of note, satisfaction rates were not statistically significantly different between the phone and video telemedicine delivery methods (84.6% vs 78.1%, respectively; P =.032).
In the per protocol analysis (n=145), the unadjusted difference in patient satisfaction rates between those who underwent phone vs video visits was -1.3% (95% CI, -12.6 to 10). After adjustments for patient age and type of insurance, satisfaction rates among those who underwent phone vs video visits decreased by -4.1% (95% CI, -14.8 to 6.6), further establishing noninferiority between the telemedicine delivery methods.
Study limitations include the absence of data in regard to specific diseases evaluated among patients during telemedicine visits, as well as potential social desirability, recall, and information bias.
According to the researchers, “[these] findings provide added data on patients’ acceptance and satisfaction with different types of telemedicine in populations of concern, which can inform clinical, regulatory, and administrative context of telemedicine and related reimbursement policies for medical care of patients with chronic diseases during and beyond the COVID-19 era.”
Danila M, Sun D, Jackson LE, et al. Satisfaction with modes of telemedicine delivery during COVID-19: a randomized, single-blind, parallel group, noninferiority trial. Am J Med Sci. Published online July 3, 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2022.06.021