Patient Satisfaction With Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Retrospective Cohort Study

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Sep 9;22(9):e20786. doi: 10.2196/20786.


Background: New York City was the international epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care providers responded by rapidly transitioning from in-person to video consultations. Telemedicine (ie, video visits) is a potentially disruptive innovation; however, little is known about patient satisfaction with this emerging alternative to the traditional clinical encounter.

Objective: This study aimed to determine if patient satisfaction differs between video and in-person visits.

Methods: In this retrospective observational cohort study, we analyzed 38,609 Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey outcomes from clinic encounters (620 video visits vs 37,989 in-person visits) at a single-institution, urban, quaternary academic medical center in New York City for patients aged 18 years, from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. Time was categorized as pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 (before vs after March 4, 2020). Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and multivariable linear regression were used for hypothesis testing and statistical modeling, respectively.

Results: We experienced an 8729% increase in video visit utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the same period last year. Video visit Press Ganey scores were significantly higher than in-person visits (94.9% vs 92.5%; P<.001). In adjusted analyses, video visits (parameter estimate [PE] 2.18; 95% CI 1.20-3.16) and the COVID-19 period (PE 0.55; 95% CI 0.04-1.06) were associated with higher patient satisfaction. Younger age (PE -2.05; 95% CI -2.66 to -1.22), female gender (PE -0.73; 95% CI -0.96 to -0.50), and new visit type (PE -0.75; 95% CI -1.00 to -0.49) were associated with lower patient satisfaction.

Conclusions: Patient satisfaction with video visits is high and is not a barrier toward a paradigm shift away from traditional in-person clinic visits. Future research comparing other clinic visit quality indicators is needed to guide and implement the widespread adoption of telemedicine.

Keywords: COVID-19; disruptive technology; health care delivery; health care reform; health policy; health services research; medical informatics; medicine; pandemics; patient satisfaction; physicians; practice patterns; remote consultation; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Pandemics*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Pneumonia, Viral*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult