Satisfaction with rural rheumatology telemedicine service

Poulsen, Katherine A., Millen, Catherine M., Lakshman, Umayal I., Buttner, Petra G., and Roberts, Lynden J. (2015) Satisfaction with rural rheumatology telemedicine service. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 18 (3). pp. 304-314.

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Aim: To assess patient satisfaction with the rheumatology telemedicine service provided to a rural town in northern Australia.

Methods: A prospective, questionnaire-based exploratory study of patients seen at the Mount Isa (rural town) rheumatology telemedicine clinics during 2012 was undertaken. Control groups included patients travelling over 3 h to be seen face-to-face in Townsville (tertiary referral centre), and patients seen at the infrequent face-to-face clinic in Mount Isa. A 5-point Likert scale was used to explore themes of communication, confidentiality, physical examination, rapport, medication safety and access.

Results: This study evaluated 107 rheumatology outpatients (49 telemedicine, 46 face-to-face Townsville, 12 face-to-face Mount Isa). Patients seen in Mount Isa travelled a median of < 10 km for either the telemedicine or local face-to-face appointments. The patients attending the Townsville face-to-face clinic travelled a median of 354 km. New patients comprised 14% of consultations. Satisfaction with themes related to quality-of-care was high with over 90% selecting 'agree' or 'strongly agree' to these questions. Comparing models of care, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of those selecting 'strongly agree' across questions, apart from a single question related to rapport which favored the Mount Isa face-to-face model (P = 0.018). When asked whether they would rather travel to Townsville than participate in a telemedicine consultation, 63% of patients selected 'disagree' (17%) or 'strongly disagree' (46%).

Conclusions: These results suggest that patients are satisfied with a rheumatology telemedicine service, and may prefer this to extensive travelling. Evaluation in other settings is recommended before generalizing this finding.

Item ID: 41891
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1756-185X
Keywords: telemedicine; telehealth; telerheumatology; video consultation; patient satisfaction; rural health
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 17:24
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110322 Rheumatology and Arthritis @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 60%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920116 Skeletal System and Disorders (incl. Arthritis) @ 20%
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