Telemed J E Health. 2022 Oct 28. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0193. Online ahead of print.
Background: Telehealth has seen breakthroughs in many fields of medicine, but utilization remains limited in orthopedic sports medicine. The purpose of this investigation was to compare patient satisfaction, duration of care, and overall patient experiences with telehealth and in-person clinical visits for sports-related injuries. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted at an orthopedic sports medicine clinic during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and November 2020. Anonymous electronic surveys were used to record patient responses and statistical comparisons were drawn through two-sample t-tests. Results: A total of 175 patients (82 telehealth vs. 93 in-person) consented to participate in this investigation, and all were included in the final analysis. The overall composite satisfaction score, when compared between the two groups, did not differ (p = 0.63). Duration of care was significantly longer in the 93 patients who had in-person clinical visits as compared with the 82 patients who had telehealth visits (61/93: >31 min vs. 75/82: <30 min; p < 0.001). Finally, of the 82 patients who had telehealth, 3 respondents said they were “very unlikely” and “unlikely” to request another virtual clinical visit and/or recommend this mode of health care delivery to friends or family. Of the 93 patients had in-person clinical visits, only 15 respondents stated they were uninterested in telehealth under any circumstance. Conclusion: Most patients presenting to an orthopedic sports medicine clinic are open to telehealth, recognize its utility, and believe it to be just as comparable with in-person clinical visits. Level of Evidence: IV.