There has been a significant rise in the number of Telehealth consultations across Australia since COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic.
To obtain patient feedback on Telehealth, identify key strengths and weaknesses and assess future demand for Telehealth beyond the pandemic.
A study specific questionnaire was developed to obtain feedback on patient satisfaction with Telehealth. Patients attending medical oncology clinics at St George Hospital and Sutherland Hospital from 1/4/2020 to 31/5/2020 were identified using clinic lists. Patients who were reviewed via phone or videoconference were included in the study. Eligible patients were texted or emailed a survey link within a week of their Telehealth consultation. Surveys were anonymous and completion of the survey implied informed consent. Patients who did not have a mobile number or email were excluded from the study.
1059 patients were reviewed during the study period. 60% of the consultations were via Telehealth. Survey response rate was 36.3% (230 patients responded out of 634 surveys sent). 10 Telehealth patients did not have a mobile number or email and were excluded. 67% of Telehealth consults were for active surveillance, 31% for pre-chemotherapy review, 1.5% for best supportive care and 0.5% were new consults. 70% of patients were satisfied that their medical needs were met via Telehealth. 90% wanted another Telehealth consult and 73% wanted Telehealth to continue post resolution of the pandemic. Minimising risk of exposure to coronavirus and patient convenience were identified as key strengths of Telehealth while absence of physical examination was the predominant concern.
Majority of the patients surveyed were satisfied that Telehealth safely met their medical needs. There is a considerable demand for Telehealth to continue beyond the pandemic.