Williams, T., May, Carl and Esmail, A.
Limitations of patient satisfaction studies in telehealthcare: a systematic review of the literature
Telemedicine Journal and E-Health, 7, (4), .
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The objective of this study is to provide a systematic review of studies on patient satisfaction with telemedicine. The review included empirical studies that investigated patient satisfaction with that telemedicine service. The search strategy involved matching at least one of 11 'telemedicine' terms with one of 5 'satisfaction' terms. The following databases were searched: Telemedicine Information Exchange (TIE) database, MEDLINE, Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), Psycinfo, and Citation Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL). A highly structured instrument was used for data extraction. The review included 93 studies. Telepsychiatry represents the largest portion of these studies (25%), followed by multispecialty care (14%), nursing (11%), and dermatology (8%). Real-time videoconferencing was used in 88% of these studies. Only 19 (20%) included an independent control group, including 9 (10%) randomized control trial (RCT) studies. One third of studies were based on samples of less than 20 patients, and only 21% had samples of over 100 patients. Aspects of patient satisfaction most commonly assessed were: professional-patient interaction, the patient's feeling about the consultation, and technical aspects of the consultation. Only 33% of the studies included a measure of preference between telemedicine and face-to-face consultation. Almost half the studies measured only 1 or 2 dimensions of satisfaction. Reported levels of satisfaction with telemedicine are consistently greater than 80%, and frequently reported at 100%. Progression of telemedicine services from "trial" status to routine health service must be supported by improved research into patients' satisfaction with telemedicine. Further investigation of factors that influence patient acceptance of telemedicine is indicated.
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