Patient preference for virtual versus in-person visits in neuromuscular clinical practice

Komal Hafeez, Hani Kushlaf, Husam Al-Sultani, Anny Claude Joseph, Zoya Zaeem, Zaeem Siddiqi, Shannon Laboy, Michael Pulley, Ali A. Habib, Nathaniel M. Robbins, Sean Zadeh, Muhammad Ubaid Hafeez, Yessar Hussain, Alexandria Melendez-Zaidi, Charles Kassardjian, Kristin Johnson, Holly Leonhard, Suur Biliciler, Jorge E. Patino Murillas, Aziz I. Shaibani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction/Aims: It is unknown if patients with neuromuscular diseases prefer in-person or virtual telemedicine visits. We studied patient opinions and preference on virtual versus in-person visits, and the factors influencing such preferences. Methods: Telephone surveys, consisting of 11 questions, of patients from 10 neuromuscular centers were completed. Results: Five hundred and twenty surveys were completed. Twenty-six percent of respondents preferred virtual visits, while 50% preferred in-person visits. Sixty-four percent reported physical interaction as “very important.” For receiving a new diagnosis, 55% preferred in-person vs 35% reporting no preference. Forty percent were concerned about a lack of physical examination vs 20% who were concerned about evaluating vital signs. Eighty four percent reported virtual visits were sufficiently private. Sixty eight percent did not consider expenses a factor in their preference. Although 92% were comfortable with virtual communication technology, 55% preferred video communications, and 19% preferred phone calls. Visit preference was not significantly associated with gender, diagnosis, disease severity, or symptom management. Patients who were concerned about a lack of physical exam or assessment of vitals had significantly higher odds of selecting in-person visits than no preference. Discussion: Although neither technology, privacy, nor finance burdened patients in our study, more patients preferred in-person visits than virtual visits and 40% were concerned about a lack of physical examination. Interactions that occur with in-person encounters had high importance for patients, reflecting differences in the perception of the patient-physician relationship between virtual and in-person visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • in-person
  • neuromuscular
  • preference
  • telemedicine
  • virtual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)

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