Telemedicine in Primary Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Provider and Patient Satisfaction Examined

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Feb;28(2):167-175. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0174. Epub 2021 May 17.


Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic telemedicine was rapidly expanded and incorporated into day-to-day practice by primary care providers to allow continued access to care for patients during this time. The quick adoption of telemedicine occurred out of necessity for social distancing, and evidence-based approaches are needed to determine the future utility of this approach to delivering care. The objective of this study was to identify factors associated with both provider and patient satisfaction with telemedicine visits in a primary care setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: This survey-based study was conducted in 2020. Surveys were distributed electronically by e-mail to providers and patients. Participants: Surveys related to satisfaction levels with telemedicine were distributed to 73 primary care providers and 6,626 patients. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary measures of this study were satisfaction level with telemedicine in primary care. Results: Studies were completed by 23 primary care providers and 1,692 patients. Most patient participants were female (70.8%), white (89.7%), non-Hispanic or non-Latino (96.6%), and Massachusetts residents (96.9%). Variables that were found to be significantly associated with higher levels of satisfaction with telemedicine visits included: travel time saved >30 min (odds ratio [OR] 1.8), having an easy visit connection (OR = 3.2), use of Zoom© video visit over telephone only (OR = 2.8), and identifying as female (OR 1.8). Conclusions and Relevance: Patients and providers reported high levels of satisfaction with telemedicine visits in a primary care setting. Providers felt that telemedicine visits usually take the same amount or less time than in-person visits. Both providers and patients reported a desire to see telemedicine visits continued after the pandemic. Patients who saved more than 30 min of travel time found it easy to connect or those who were female were more likely to be satisfied with telemedicine visits, while those that had telephone visits were less likely to be satisfied than those that had Zoom© visits.

Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; primary care; telehealth; telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine*