Evaluation of Telehealth for Preclinic Assessment and Follow-Up in an Interprofessional Rural and Remote Memory Clinic

J Appl Gerontol. 2011 Jun;30(3):304-331. doi: 10.1177/0733464810366564.

Abstract

Using data from a sample of 169 patients, this study evaluates the acceptability and feasibility of telehealth videoconferencing for preclinic assessment and follow-up in an interprofessional memory clinic for rural and remote seniors. Patients and caregivers are seen via telehealth prior to the in-person clinic, and followed at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months, one year, and yearly. Patients are randomly assigned to in-person (standard care) or telehealth for the first follow-up, then alternating between the two modes of treatment, prior to 1-year follow-up. On average, telehealth appointments reduce participants' travel by 426 km per round trip. Findings show that telehealth coordinators rated 85% of patients and 92% of caregiversas comfortable or very comfortable during telehealth. Satisfaction scales completed by patient-caregiver dyads show high satisfaction with telehealth. Follow-up questionnaires reveal similar satisfaction with telehealth and in-person appointments, but telehealth is rated as significantly more convenient. Predictors of discontinuing follow-up are greater distance to telehealth, old-age patient, lower telehealth satisfaction, and lower caregiver burden.