Telemedicine virtual visits preferred by majority in Massachusetts General Hospital survey

The results are far better than parity with in-person visits for follow up. A group of 254 patients and 61 health care providers were the subject of a survey conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare, and Johns Hopkins. It found that virtual video visits (VVVs) are perceived by the majority of patients as the same as or better than office visits in convenience and cost, at the same level of quality and personal connection. It measured responses from both patients and providers in the MGH TeleHealth (sic) program, in place since 2012, in follow up care from providers in psychiatry, neurology, cardiology, oncology and primary care (the last two added late in the survey).

The results were: 

  • The vast majority (94.5%) of patients preferred the travel time (minimal) and time convenience (79.5%) of the VVV
  • Most patients (62.6%) and clinicians (59.0%) reported “no difference” between VVV and office visits on “the overall quality of the visit.”
  • When rating “the personal connection felt during the visit”, over half–but more patients than clinicians–said that there was “no difference” with the VVV (patients, 59.1%; clinicians, 50.8%), although 32.7% of patients and 45.9% of clinicians reported that the “office visit is better”.
  • They were also willing to pay for it–and that increased with distance from the doctor. Among those who traveled more than 90 minutes to an office visit, 51.5% indicated they would pay a co-payment of more than $50 for a VVV compared with 30.4% of those who traveled less than 30 minutes.
  • Results graphs are here

The survey results were published in the American Journal of Managed Care. This month’s issue also examines gamification in healthcare, asynchronous communication between primary and specialty care practitioners at Geisinger, EHRs–and the relationship between data breaches and not surprisingly increased advertising expenditures after the fact to rebuild lost trust. According to this last article, breached hospitals were more likely to be large, teaching, and urban hospitals relative to the control group.

Also UPI and HealthDay.

4 year telehealth study charts ~40 percent CHF readmissions reduction

Finally an encouraging long-term, large N study on telehealth reducing same-cause hospital readmissions. Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health Plan, the managed care arm of integrated health system Geisinger Health, has released findings from a four-year (2008-2012) study of 541 GHP Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with congestive heart failure. Hospital readmissions after 30 days were 44 percent lower and after 90 days 38 percent lower. Return on investment: “for every $1 spent to implement this program, there was approximately $3.30 return on this investment in terms of the cost savings accrued to GHP.”

Patients were assigned case managers and provided with a relatively simple program combining Bluetooth-connected weight scales and interactive voice response (IVR) calls to answer questions such as shortness of breath, swelling, appetite and on prescription medication management. The case managers used a platform to aggregate the data (more…)