Patients, providers embrace telemedicine for specialty care

Rural patients and providers as well like the use of telemedicine for specialty care, according to research published in the journal The Health Care Manager.

Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted three surveys--with patients, physicians and on-site equipment coordinators served by the Missouri Telehealth Network--to determine their level of satisfaction with telemedicine. The network offers 29 different clinical specialty services at 202 sites in 62 counties.

The surveys asked about potential benefits including ease of use, quality of care and acceptance of telemedicine as a viable alternative to in-person care. It revealed satisfaction among all three groups.

Eighty-three percent of 286 patients surveyed felt they received skilled care during their telehealth visit, and 78 percent said they would use the service again; 67 percent of site coordinators said the telehealth appointments were easy to coordinate; and 86 percent of physicians surveyed were satisfied with the care they provided through telemedicine.

A recent Accenture report projected that $10 billion a year in primary care costs could be saved through telemedicine, an option that would make more efficient use of doctors' time and thus ease potential doctor shortages.

CVS MinuteClinics are among the retail sites offering telehealth visits and sharing EHR data with healthcare providers. In a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a third of the roughly 1,700 Minute Clinic patients surveyed actually preferred telehealth visits over traditional in-person visits.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract
- read the announcement