Sufferers are simply as glad with digital visits, Cleveland Clinic research finds

Sufferers appear to love the comfort of telehealth, in addition to the flexibility to stay secure from COVID-19 transmission – particularly earlier than the vaccine rollout in america.  

However a brand new research revealed within the Journal of Medical Web Analysis additionally reveals that affected person satisfaction with their digital engagement with clinicians can also be similar to in-person care.  

“Our research discovered that digital visits facilitate healthcare entry and relationship-building, contributing to satisfying relationship-centered care, an important side of latest affected person experiences,” wrote researchers.  


The research, led by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, surveyed 426 grownup sufferers with a digital go to between June and July 2017 – notably, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic extra broadly normalized telemedicine.  

The common general satisfaction rating was 4.4 out of 5, with about 82% of respondents saying their digital go to was nearly as good as an in-person go to with a clinician.  

In reality, greater than half of the respondents agreed that their digital go to was higher than an in-person one.  

When it got here to engagement particularly, the overwhelming majority of sufferers (practically 93%) mentioned their digital go to clinician was focused on them as an individual. About 95% mentioned that they had made a plan of motion along with their supplier to resolve their well being considerations.  

“Our research means that it’s attainable to measure the patient-clinician engagement and start to guage empathy and collaborative relationships with sufferers throughout a digital go to,” wrote researchers.

When it comes to expertise, 92.7% of sufferers discovered the interface simple to make use of and 94.8% felt comfy utilizing it.

Nonetheless, technical difficulties had been related to decrease odds of general satisfaction, and 14% of respondents really useful that sufferers be given extra info earlier than their digital visits to know what to anticipate and the way to put together for his or her appointment.

The outcomes of the JMIR research echo one other latest survey, performed by the telehealth vendor Cronofy, that discovered that 83% of sufferers rated their distant healthcare expertise as optimistic.  

And regardless of reviews displaying telehealth use is starting to taper, 87% of respondents in that survey mentioned they anticipated to make use of telehealth the identical quantity or extra sooner or later.  


Though affected person satisfaction is actually essential, affected person entry can even be a precedence for telehealth’s future.   

Advocates have repeatedly pointed to the prospect of the “telehealth cliff,” which sufferers and suppliers will face with out congressional motion to safeguard pandemic-era flexibilities.

However even with telemedicine-friendly insurance policies in place, some lawmakers and researchers have flagged the hazard of digital care widening the “digital divide,” notably in areas with out entry to broadband.     


“Even throughout a single digital go to, we discovered that sufferers and clinicians may meaningfully interact in relationship-building practices,” wrote the Cleveland Clinic researchers of their JMIR research.

“Methods to arrange established sufferers for digital visits with their clinicians could ease the transition from in-person care to digital care, leading to higher experiences for each.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT Information.

Twitter: @kjercich

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Healthcare IT Information is a HIMSS Media publication.

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