Background: One-quarter of U.S. patients do not have a primary care provider or do not have complete access to one. Work and personal responsibilities also compete with finding convenient, accessible care. Telehealth services facilitate patients' access to care, but whether patients are satisfied with telehealth is unclear.
Objective: We assessed patients' satisfaction with and preference for telehealth visits in a telehealth program at CVS MinuteClinics.
Design: Cross-sectional patient satisfaction survey.
Participants: Patients were aged ≥18 years, presented at a MinuteClinic offering telehealth in January-September 2014, had symptoms suitable for telehealth consultation, and agreed to a telehealth visit when the on-site practitioner was busy.
Main measures: Patients reported their age, gender, and whether they had health insurance and/or a primary care provider. Patients rated their satisfaction with seeing diagnostic images, hearing and seeing the remote practitioner, the assisting on-site nurse's capability, quality of care, convenience, and overall understanding. Patients ranked telehealth visits compared to traditional ones: better (defined as preferring telehealth), just as good (defined as liking telehealth), or worse. Predictors of preferring or liking telehealth were assessed via multivariate logistic regression.
Key results: In total, 1734 (54 %) of 3303 patients completed the survey: 70 % were women, and 41 % had no usual place of care. Between 94 and 99 % reported being "very satisfied" with all telehealth attributes. One-third preferred a telehealth visit to a traditional in-person visit. An additional 57 % liked telehealth. Lack of medical insurance increased the odds of preferring telehealth (OR = 0.83, 95 % CI, 0.72-0.97). Predictors of liking telehealth were female gender (OR = 1.68, 1.04-2.72) and being very satisfied with their overall understanding of telehealth (OR = 2.76, 1.84-4.15), quality of care received (OR = 2.34, 1.42-3.87), and telehealth's convenience (OR = 2.87, 1.09-7.94) CONCLUSIONS: Patients reported high satisfaction with their telehealth experience. Convenience and perceived quality of care were important to patients, suggesting that telehealth may facilitate access to care.
Keywords: access to care; patient satisfaction; telehealth.