In the first study of its kind, researchers find both patients and physicians react positively to real-time, virtual check-ups using videoconferencing technology.
Expanding the exam room
Patients and doctors accepting of “virtual” visits
In the first study of its kind, researchers
find both patients and physicians react positively to real-time, virtual check-ups
using videoconferencing technology. The
pilot study conducted at
“With the current lack of primary care physicians, we really need to rethink how we can care for patients in an efficient manner with the limited number of doctors and nurses in practice today,” says Ron Dixon, MD, of the MGH Department of Medicine, one of the investigators. “This study indicates that the creation of a ‘virtual practice’ could be a viable alternative.”
The study enrolled 30 sequential patients of
a particular primary care physician –
While patients noted some dissatisfaction with the doctor’s perceived manner during the virtual visit, they reported the visits were similar to traditional exams in regard to time with the physician, level of attention paid to the patient, ability of the doctor to explain the clinical plan, and the level of clinical competence. Nearly all said they would recommend this type of visit to friends or colleagues, and they would consider using the technology at their home. The clinician reported that the overall quality of the virtual visit ranked lower than that of the face-to-face visit but was satisfactory and that the quality of the medial history was equal in both modalities. This is the first quantitative study to examine the attitudes of patients and physicians to virtual visits in a primary care setting.
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