The Feasibility and Satisfaction of Using Telemedicine to Provide Tertiary Paediatric Obesity Care
Although telemedicine in paediatric tertiary care has been tried, satisfaction and outcome data is limited due to small sample sizes and the variation of methods and personnel by which telemedicine technology is delivered and participants assessed. Aim: to determine the feasibility of using telemedicine to deliver Paediatric tertiary obesity care and to evaluate Patient/Physician/Staff satisfaction. Method: we used a commercially available telemedicine system to conduct a prospective study where 30 patients in a Paediatric Healthy Life Centre Outpatient Clinic were evaluated by a specialist physician using telemedicine technology. A qualitative assessment of the patient/physician/staff perceptions of telemedicine use was assessed through a five-point Likert Scale and free text answers. Results: of the 30 patient sessions, 27 (90%) consultations were performed to completion. Fifteen consultations were initial assessments. Physician, staff and patient responders agreed that the use of telemedicine is an appropriate and effective use of the clinician’s skillset and time (≥96%), and can avoid patient travel from an underserved area to a tertiary care clinic (≥95%). Responders were comfortable and satisfied using the telemedicine equipment (≥85%). Physician and patients agreed that the telemedicine equipment helped the patient avoid a face-to-face visit (≥90%). Physician and patients felt the technology was effective in the management of their visit (≥93%). Conclusions: we successfully delivered tertiary obesity care through the use of telemedicine equipment in different clinical situations associated with paediatric obesity. Telemedicine is feasible, and is a realistic, successful and cost-effective modality to provide well-received specialty care for the obese paediatric population.
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