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1105 Telemedicine in rheumatology: a survey of patient and provider satisfaction with virtual care
  1. Wei Tang1,
  2. Leila Khalili1,
  3. Maria Dall’Era2,
  4. Cynthia Aranow3,
  5. Meggan Mackay3 and
  6. Anca Askanase1
  1. 1Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, New York, NY
  2. 2Lupus Clinic and Rheumatology Clinical Research Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  3. 3Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY, 11030


Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person rheumatology was largely replaced by telemedicine to ensure the safety of both patients and providers. The increased pressure on the healthcare system amidst the pandemic that created a soaring number of patients has pressed an effective supplementary healthcare format for both rheumatology and other specialties. However, it remains unclear whether telemedicine, in the commonly used video-conference format, can serve as a feasible alternative to conventional in-person clinical visits while achieving comparable patient/provider satisfaction and maintaining long-term quality of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the patient and provider experience with video-conference based virtual care thus provide further information on the prospective use of telemedicine in rheumatology practice.

Methods April-June 2020 we disseminated a seven-item questionnaire to patients with rheumatic diseases who recently attended telemedicine encounters in a video-conference format to evaluate their satisfaction and experience with the encounter. Simultaneously, we surveyed providers who recently conducted virtual care with a similar seven-item questionnaire to evaluate provider attitude towards the virtual care.

Results A total of 100 patients and 17 care providers responded to the survey. Of the 100 patients surveyed, 84 (84%) reported high levels of satisfaction; 86 (86%) felt comfortable with the video-conference format and 77 (77%) expressed willingness to use telemedicine in the future; 92 (92%) acknowledged that physicians were able to satisfactorily address the issues and concerns that prompted the visit, and 57 (57%) considered the experiences very similar to the in-person clinical visits. However, of the 17 care providers surveyed, only 3 (18%) expressed satisfaction with telemedicine while 14 (82%) considered telemedicine visit worse than conventional in-person clinical visits.

Abstract 1105 Table 1

Telemedicine Seven-item Questionnaire

Abstract 1105 Table 2

Demographic characteristics of study subjects

Conclusions Our cohort showed high rate of patient satisfaction with telemedicine healthcare. However, the relatively low healthcare provider satisfaction rate raises concern as to whether telemedicine constitutes a satisfactory alternative to conventional in-person care. Additional researches are required to investigate the feasibility of telemedicine in long-term disease activity evaluation and patient outcome measurement.

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