Background: To characterize telemedicine use among pediatric subspecialties with respect to clinical uses of telemedicine, provider experience, and patient perceptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We performed a mixed-methods study of telemedicine visits across pediatric endocrinology, nephrology, orthopedic surgery, and rheumatology at a large children's hospital. We used deductive analysis to review observational data from 40 video visits. Providers and patients/caregivers were surveyed around areas of satisfaction and communication.
Results: We found adaptations of telemedicine including shared-screen use and provider-guided parent procedures among others. All providers felt that it was safest for their patients to conduct visits by video, and 72.7% reported completing some component of a clinical exam. Patients rated the areas of being respected by the clinical staff/provider and showing care and concern highly, and the mean overall satisfaction was 86.7 ± 19.3%.
Conclusions: Telemedicine has been used to deliver care to pediatric patients during the pandemic, and we found that patients were satisfied with the telemedicine visits during this stressful time and that providers were able to innovate during visits. Telemedicine is a tool that can be successfully adapted to patient and provider needs, but further studies are needed to fully explore its integration in pediatric subspecialty care.
Impact: This study describes telemedicine use at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from both a provider and patient perspective, in four different pediatric subspecialties. Prior to COVID-19, pediatric telehealth landscape analysis suggested that many pediatric specialty practices had pilot telehealth programs, but there are few published studies evaluating telemedicine performance through the simultaneous patient and provider experience as part of standard care. We describe novel uses and adaptations of telemedicine during a time of rapid deployment in pediatric specialty care.
© 2021. The Author(s).