Patient Perceptions of Telehealth Primary Care Video Visits

Ann Fam Med. 2017 May;15(3):225-229. doi: 10.1370/afm.2095.


Purpose: Telehealth is a care delivery model that promises to increase the flexibility and reach of health services. Our objective is to describe patient experiences with video visits performed with their established primary care clinicians.

Methods: We constructed semistructured, in-depth qualitative interviews with adult patients following video visits with their primary care clinicians at a single academic medical center. Data were analyzed with a content analysis approach.

Results: Of 32 eligible patients, 19 were successfully interviewed. All patients reported overall satisfaction with video visits, with the majority interested in continuing to use video visits as an alternative to in-person visits. The primary benefits cited were convenience and decreased costs. Some patients felt more comfortable with video visits than office visits and expressed a preference for receiving future serious news via video visit, because they could be in their own supportive environment. Primary concerns with video visits were privacy, including the potential for work colleagues to overhear conversations, and questions about the ability of the clinician to perform an adequate physical examination.

Conclusions: Primary care video visits are acceptable in a variety of situations. Patients identified convenience, efficiency, communication, privacy, and comfort as domains that are potentially important to consider when assessing video visits vs in-person encounters. Future studies should explore which patients and conditions are best suited for video visits.

Keywords: patient satisfaction; primary health care; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Perception
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Young Adult