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Study finds virtual doctors visits satisfactory for both patients and clinicians
Date:5/14/2009

most measures, including time spent with the physician, ease of interaction and personal aspects of the interaction. Physicians scored virtual visits similar to face-to-face visits on measures including history taking and medication dispensing. Though they were less satisfied on measures of clinical skill and overall satisfaction, those ratings were still in the good to excellent range.

The diagnostic agreement between physicians was 84 percent between face-to-face and virtual visits; it was 80 percent between the two face-to-face visits.

"The tradition of medicine is to lay hands on the patients, which has always been considered paramount to patient care in the minds of physicians," says Dixon. "However, these findings suggest that virtual visits could be a viable option in circumstances where patients need to be monitored routinely for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity or depression, and where self-management strategies are not working. Virtual visits may also be effective for triage of acute, non-urgent issues like back pain or respiratory infections."

Among the benefits of virtual visits are reduce overhead costs for a physicians' practices by reducing the space and resource requirements. For patients, a virtual visit can minimize time taken away from work and transportation costs. The study suggests that both patients and physicians could benefit if virtual visits were used as an alternative method of accessing primary care.


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Contact: Jennifer Gundersen
jgundersen1@partners.org
617-724-6433
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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