Telemedicine services increased dramaticallyduring the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with limited studies on its implementation within pediatric orthopedics. The goal of this study was to examine patient satisfaction and the efficacy of pediatric orthopedic telemedicine visits.
Two hundred and sixty-nine qualifying telehealth visits took place at a metropolitan area pediatric institute between 1 March and 30 May 2020. Patients were invited to complete an anonymous satisfaction survey on their telemedicine experience. Sixty-seven patients responded to the survey. A chart review was completed for all 269 telemedicine visits.
Ninety-two percent (249/269) of telemedicine visits were with established patients, and 95% (256/269) of visits were satisfactorily completed without further evaluation, with one visit requiring urgent in-person evaluation. Overall, patients were satisfied with initiating the telemedicine visit (mean score of 4.56/5), as they felt comfortable discussing needs with the provider (4.68/5), and the visit saved time (4.61/5). However, patients were less enthused when deciding if telemedicine was of comparable quality to an in-person visit (3.68/5).
Our analysis showed that telemedicine is a viable alternative to in-person visits for various pediatric orthopedic visits, with minimal urgent complications. Patients benefited primarily from the time savings when using a telemedicine visit. However, our study also demonstrates certain limitations of telemedicine, likely due to patients’ perceived value of an in-person evaluation. Our study’s findings should encourage the continued implementation of pediatric orthopedic telemedicine as an adjunct to in-person clinical practice.