Differences in patient satisfaction with virtual telephone clinics in a tertiary referral centre for otolaryngology during and after lockdown measures during the SARS-Cov2 pandemic
Introduction: The SARS-Cov2 pandemic has caused considerable disruption to provision of routine outpatient care. This pandemic has necessitated a more modern and innovative approach to clinics, which could potentially change outpatient organisation and improve efficiency in the long term. Telephone clinics are the most practical way to deliver healthcare at a distance.
Aim: The purpose of the present study was to assess patient satisfaction with a virtual telephone clinic in a tertiary referral centre for otolaryngology first during the height of the SARS-Cov2 pandemic, and subsequently at a physical follow-up appointment after easing of "lockdown" measures.
Methods: Patients were enrolled prospectively via a telephone interview over a 1-week period during the height of the "lockdown" measures, and subsequently at a physical appointment when measures eased.
Results: Overall, patients responded very positively in the anonymised questionnaire at the time of their virtual appointment. However, at a subsequent physical appointment, there was a reduction in overall favourable responses from patients. While patients still thought virtual clinics were a good idea and convenient in the context of SARS-Cov2, we noted a reduction in satisfaction in other key aspects of their care. Notably, patients were less likely to think that virtual clinics were able to properly address their condition.
Conclusion: While virtual clinics remain a useful tool during the height of lockdown measures during the SARS-Cov2 pandemic, we did note a significant reduction in favourable responses to virtual appointments over physical ones upon easing of lockdown measures. Patients remained cautious in suggesting that outpatient appointments may be replaced by virtual clinics.
Published CitationHintze JM, O'Riordan I, Hussain T, Keane E, Casserly P. Differences in patient satisfaction with virtual telephone clinics in a tertiary referral centre for otolaryngology during and after lockdown measures during the SARS-Cov2 pandemic. Ir J Med Sci. 2021;190(4):1349-1353.
Publication Date13 January 2021
- Accepted Version (Postprint)