Patients' Experience and Satisfaction Using Telemedicine for Outpatient Services in a Tertiary Cancer Center in Qatar During Covid-19: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Health Science Reports




BACKGROUND AND AIM: The coronavirus-19 is an ongoing global pandemic resulting in millions of deaths worldwide. For a patient population at higher risk of infection, telemedicine is a promising means of providing safe and alternative care routes while minimizing their risk of exposure. This study gives insight into patients' experiences and satisfaction with telemedicine during this pandemic.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study on 297 patients (RR: 85%) at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), Qatar. Data was collected through electronic medical records of the eligibe patient population, and phone calls were made whereby the physician read a standard introductory script followed by a survey questionnaire. We focused on patients' experience with telemedicine services amid the pandemic. This was done using a six-point Likert scoring system of seven questions that were scaled from 1 to 6.

RESULTS: More than 80% of patients somewhat to strongly agreed that telemedicine met their healthcare needs, improved their confidence in their healthcare system, and were generally satisfied with the quality of care provided. Nearly all patients (90%) understood their physicians' recommendations over the phone. In addition, more than half of the patients (89%) felt they could freely communicate their concerns. Patients also showed an inclination towards face-to-face consultations at 68%; however, 90% were willing to participate in future teleconsultations.

CONCLUSION: Our study indicates an overall positive experience among patients towards the use of telemedicine. Telemedicine is a safe, futuristic approach toward patient care management and, thus, provides healthcare professionals a platform to implement further patient and physician education. Even though our data also showed that patients liked in-person visits to some degree, this needs to be looked into more in future studies.