JMIR Form Res. 2022 Aug 7. doi: 10.2196/35718. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Telemedicine can take many forms, from telephone-only consultations to video consultations via smartphone or personal computer, depending on the goals of the treatment. One of the advantages of videoconferencing is the direct visual contact between patients and therapists even over long distances. While some telemedicine models require specially designed add-on devices, others get by with off-the-shelf equipment and software and achieve similarly successful results. This depends, among other things, on the nature of the injury, the desired outcome of therapy, and the medical consultation. In the last decade, the science and practice of telemedicine have grown exponentially and even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic. Depending on the traumatic lesion, post-traumatic and post-operative treatment and care of trauma patients may require medical or physical therapy consultation in a clinic or office. However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, direct physical follow-up was more difficult and telemedicine solutions were sought and implemented.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess orthopedic trauma patients` satisfaction with telemedical aftercare.
METHODS: Between March and July 2020, a standardized interview using a standardized questionnaire (Freiburg Index of Patient Satisfaction; FIPS) amongst orthopedic trauma patients who received telemedical post-surgical or physiotherapeutic care was conducted. The FIPS is composed of five questions regarding treatment and one question on the overall treatment satisfaction. Furthermore, we assessed patients` demographics and their telemedical use. Sub-group analysis was performed for age groups (< 65 years vs. ≥ 65 years), the used device and gender.
RESULTS: In total, we assessed 25 patients with a mean age of 43 years (14 female). The majority of patients used their smartphone for the consultations (76%). The assessed mean overall FIPS score was 2.14. The mean FIPS score of younger patients was 2.23 (versus 1.91 for elderly patients). The vast majority of the surveyed patients (80%) were absolutely confident with their smartphone or tablet use.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients surveyed stated a high satisfaction with the telemedical follow-up. Older patients showed a higher satisfaction rate than their counterparts. It seems that telemedical post-surgical or physiotherapeutic care is a viable option, especially in times of reduced contact, like the current Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, telemedicine offers the opportunity to ensure access to effective patient care even over long distances while maintaining patient satisfaction.
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