Background: We examined patient interest in a telehealth model in which the patient supplies the hardware and Internet connectivity to meet with a healthcare provider from his or her home via video call (video appointment). We hoped to understand prospectively the desirability, feasibility, and viability from the patient perspective.
Materials and methods: A phone survey was conducted of a random sample of patients who had been seen in the outpatient setting at a single institution. The sample was stratified by proximity to the local institution with oversampling for patients living outside a 120-mile radius.
Results: Out of 500 total patients, 301 patients responded, and 263 met the inclusion criteria. Of those 263 respondents, 38% indicated "very likely" to accept an invitation to see their provider via video, 28.1% "somewhat likely," and 33.8% "not at all likely." Of respondents, 75% have broadband, although only 36% reported having a Web camera. The primary factors affecting willingness to participate in a video appointment include comfort in setting up a video call, age, and distance participants would have traveled for an in-clinic appointment.
Conclusions: Patient survey data indicate that most patients are likely to be accepting of telehealth care to the home using video call and that most have the required technology. Nevertheless, there are still significant hurdles to effectively implement this adaptation of telehealth care as part of mainstream practice.
Keywords: appointment; feasibility; patient survey; prospective; telemedicine; video; video appointment; video call; videoconference.