Introduction Past literature has explored qualitative differences between teleconsultation and conventional face-to-face consultation in the context of diabetes care. However, designing the algorithm of such innovative consultations necessitates inclusion of patients’ ideas and concerns so as to optimise their practicality and be adequately tailored to patients’ needs. Hence, the Centre of Gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in London decided to involve patients through a questionnaire focusing on the design of synchronous teleconsultation through video-conferencing.
Methods We aimed to identify: 1)Patients’ responses to introducing video-conferencing and explore factors contributing to their decision and 2)Patient groups in which video-conferencing would be more applicable. We analysed responses of 137 patients attending the gastroenterology outpatient clinic between April-August 2015. ‘Positive response’ (PR) was defined as patients who would consider a video-conference consultation compared to a conventional face-to-face method/’negative response’ (NR). Further analysis identified potential factors contributing to a PR such as age and employment status as well as device, software and consultation type preferences. We were also interested as to whether video-conferencing would improve patient attendance.
Results PRs (n = 68): Also refer to figure 1.
>50% were <60 years old compared to only 30% aged ≥60 years.
The majority had current/previous work experience (full-time 62%,part-time 62% and retired 68%).
Patients indicated preference towards bigger screens:computer(56%), portable device(47%) and smartphone(36%).
70% preferred Skype and 30% facetime while 1/3 preferred having a video-conference as their 1st appointment and 2/3 as their follow-up.
41% indicated they would be more likely to attend a video-conference compared to 59% who indicated their attendance would either decrease or remain unaffected.
Reasons for NRs (n = 69) Lack of confidence with device (57%), Lack of privacy at home/work(12%) and Other reasons (38%).
Conclusion Results suggested that a traditional face-to-face interaction is more suitable for a first consultation, however video-conferencing could be a beneficial alternative for follow-up.Video-conferencing would be more applicable to patients aged <60, with work experience and potentially greater exposure to technology. Preference for a bigger screen may indicate a need for a more realistic and personal interaction with the doctor, while widespread accessibility of Skype provides the most convenient option. We feel that acquisition of more experience in utilising technology in the near future can increase the acceptability of video-conferencing with similar quality of care to conventional methods of consultation.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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