WEDNESDAY, Oct. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patient satisfaction and confidence in care are high with telemedicine in routine radiation oncology practice, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Narek Shaverdian, M.D., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues examined the patient experience with telemedicine in routine radiation oncology practice to assess satisfaction, quality of care, and opportunities for optimization. A total of 1,077 patients were assessed: 726 with prepandemic office visits and 351 with telemedicine visits in December 2019 through June 2020.

The researchers found that satisfaction scores did not differ significantly between office and telemedicine consultations, including the appointment experience versus expectation, quality of physician explanations, and level of physician concern and friendliness. Of the telemedicine survey respondents, 45, 34, and 21 percent preferred telemedicine visits, preferred office visits, and had no preference for visit type, respectively. Most respondents found that confidence in their physician, understanding of the treatment plan, and confidence in their treatment was better or no different with telemedicine versus an office visit (90, 88, and 87 percent, respectively). The likelihood of preferring in-person office visit consultations was increased for patients with better performance status and who were married/partnered (odds ratios, 1.04 and 2.41, respectively). The likelihood of reporting better treatment plan understanding with an office visit was increased for patients with telephone-only encounters (odds ratio, 2.25).

“These findings provide some evidence that there is a role for telemedicine beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shaverdian said in a statement.

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