Session Type: ACR Poster Session A
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: The United States pediatric rheumatology (PR) workforce is committed to a mission of providing children access to PR care. With a limited number and distribution of pediatric rheumatologists, telemedicine has been proposed as one way to meet this mission. Because low familiarity with telemedicine is a known barrier to successful implementation, the purpose of this study was to assess familiarity with telemedicine and how this influenced opinions about this modality among parents/guardians of PR patients in the Upper Midwest.
Methods: For six weeks in 2015, English-speaking guardians of patients being evaluated at the University of Minnesota Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic were eligible to participate in a needs-assessment survey. Responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: Of 221 participants eligible for the survey, 159 (72%) responded. The majority were guardians of adolescent Caucasian patients and had private insurance. The most common diagnosis was juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and 28% (45/159) traveled more than three hours to the clinic. Only 8% (13/158) of respondents reported that they or a family member or friend had ever used telemedicine, and the majority of respondents (75%, 115/154) felt that they did not know enough about telemedicine to determine if such visits are better, equal, or worse to in-person visits. Fifteen percent (23/154) felt that telemedicine visits are worse than in-person visits, and 10% (16/154) felt that telemedicine visits are either equal or better. Those familiar with telemedicine were more likely to report a preference for telemedicine over in-person visits (27% vs 3%; p=0.0087). They were also more likely to report telemedicine visits as equal to or better than in-person visits (42% vs 8%; p=0.0033), and 60% (3/5) of these respondents preferred telemedicine visits themselves. Still, an overwhelming majority of respondents (95%, 144/152) reported a preference for in-person visits over the option of telemedicine, and this preference persisted even when travel to the clinic was reported as inconvenient (inconvenient 92%, convenient 97%; p=0.2881). Neither views on telemedicine visits compared to in-person visits nor preference for in-person visits significantly differed by patient demographics, insurance type, length of time the child was a patient in the clinic, travel time, or frequency of internet use.
Conclusion: Most respondents prefer in-person visits over the option of telemedicine; however, familiarity with this modality was low, and most did not feel that they knew enough to assess the quality of telemedicine visits. Familiarity with telemedicine positively influenced both a preference for telemedicine and the assessment of the quality of telemedicine. Sample bias existed because only those who came to the PR clinic were surveyed. Efforts to increase familiarity with telemedicine may foster increased acceptability and are therefore vitally important when implementing a telemedicine program.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Bullock DR, Vehe RK, Zhang L, Correll CK. Familiarity Vital for Telemedicine Uptake Among Parents of Pediatric Rheumatology Patients [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016; 68 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/familiarity-vital-for-telemedicine-uptake-among-parents-of-pediatric-rheumatology-patients/. Accessed November 29, 2020.
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/familiarity-vital-for-telemedicine-uptake-among-parents-of-pediatric-rheumatology-patients/