Telemedicine facilitates patient care, improves patient engagement and efficiently uses resources. It isn’t here to substitute personal visits to doctor’s clinics or hospitals (in-person visits). A recent study published in Journal of ISAKOS mentions that the use of telemedicine in the field of sports medicine results in efficient patient care and reduced costs. It also rises patient satisfaction levels as compared to in-person visits.
This study was conducted by Alfred Atanda Jr., MD, and his colleagues on patients visiting a paediatric orthopaedic centre. They studied clinic visits and the wait times for patients younger than 18 years. These patients either made a in-person visit or telemedicine visits. The researchers compared both these patients by using a satisfaction survey and calculated costs incurred by the patient and the department.
As compared to the in-patient visits, telemedicine visits were for shorter duration and the wait time was less too. Time spent with the healthcare provider was more along with lower labour and travel costs. In the field of healthcare, satisfaction level of patients is of prime importance. This study showed that more than 90% of patients who opted for telemedicine visits were extremely satisfied with the quality of patient care. It was found that patients saved 85 miles of driving. The per visit costs too reduced by $50 and per patient in labour cost reduced $24.
There is no doubt that in-person visits are necessary at times considering the severity and need of patient condition. But, if telemedicine is combined with in-person visits both the methods can be a blessing to the field of healthcare.