International Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome

Open Access

Abstract

Utilizing Telemedicine for Group Visit Provider Encounters: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study

Tushar A Patel, PA-C, Craig A Johnston, PhD, Victor J Cardenas, MD, Elizabeth M Vaughan, DO, MPH

Background: The value of telemedicine has been underscored during the coronavirus pandemic. Utilizing telemedicine could markedly enhance group visit scalability and sustainability. However, there are limited data demonstrating telemedicine use for group visits.

Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of provider encounters conducted via telemedicine in group visits.

Materials and Methods: We conducted a 6-month diabetes group visit program and compared in-person (months 1-3) versus telemedicine (videoconferencing) (months 4-6) patient-provider encounters. Participants completed the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ) at 6-months (primary outcome). To ensure telemedicine did not negatively affect clinical outcomes, we compared in-person versus telemedicine differences in HbA1c, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and attendance.

Results: The TUQ revealed that participants (N=19) found telemedicine useful and easy to use (4.9/5.0, 4.4/5.0, respectively) and with excellent interface (4.3/5.0), interaction (4.6/5.0), reliability (4.2/5.0), and satisfaction (4.4/5.0). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes between arms: HbA1c (in-person: -0.60%, telemedicine: -0.52%, p=0.86), blood pressure (systolic: p=0.475, diastolic: p=0.683), weight (p=0.982), BMI (p=0.981), attendance (in-person: 75.44%, telemedicine: 70.12%, p=0.551).

Conclusion: Provider telemedicine encounters in group visits are feasible and acceptable. This is a promising model to address provider limitations in group visits and increase access to care. Larger studies are needed to further evaluate these findings.

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