A recent study by the Missouri Telehealth Network shows both patients and providers are satisfied with the quality of care telemedicine provides. Telemedicine has been an option for Missourians for the past 21 years and allows a patient to speak to a provider via a video call.
Ninety percent of patients and providers surveyed in the study were satisfied with the quality of care received via telemedicine.
“I think there was a lot of skepticism about telemedicine, but this really shows this is what patients want,” said Mirna Becevic, an assistant research professor at the Missouri Telehealth Network. “We're hoping that this will open up some new doors and new avenues to seeing patients.”
Becevic added that the results might convince more doctors to participate in telemedicine.
“Physicians will see that this is something patients are really comfortable with, at least in our network,” she said.
The network provided 30,000 appointments in 2013, and most patients saw specialists they wouldn’t be able to find in their hometown.
Becevic said that if the medical team at University Hospital finds out that a patient being treated lives in a rural area, they will offer them telemedicine visits. And once the appointment is set up, the appointment should run as though in person.
In a few instances, some patients might actually feel more comfortable with their doctor via a screen. Becevic sat in on one call between a patient and their psychiatrist.
“The patient basically said to the provider, ‘I really like this. I didn't know what I was going to think of seeing you via video but you're not in my face, you're not here in the room with me, so I feel more open and I feel I can share more with you,’” Becevic recalled. “I thought that was really unexpected.”
In the future, she said she expects telemedicine to grow as more doctors begin to use business models that allow patients to request same-day telehealth appointments.