High Satisfaction with Patient-Centered Telemedicine for Hepatitis C Virus Delivered to Substance Users: A Mixed-Methods Study

Andrew H Talal, Elisavet M Sofikitou, Kejia Wang, Suzanne Dickerson, Urmo Jaanimägi, Marianthi Markatou, Andrew H Talal, Elisavet M Sofikitou, Kejia Wang, Suzanne Dickerson, Urmo Jaanimägi, Marianthi Markatou


Background: While telemedicine may increase health care access for vulnerable populations, data are limited on whether people with opioid use disorder (PWOUD) are satisfied with telemedicine. We assessed PWOUD satisfaction with telemedicine and identified factors that increase telemedicine satisfaction. Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods study among hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected persons enrolled at 12 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) throughout New York State. Participants successfully completed HCV treatment either through telemedicine integrated into OTPs (N = 238) or through offsite referral (N = 106). We evaluated Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ) response scores at the initial and final health care encounters and subsequently interviewed telemedicine study participants (N = 25) to assess their experiences with telemedicine. Results: All participants (N = 344) successfully completed HCV treatment. We observed no differences in PSQ scores between telemedicine and in-person encounters (98.3% and 98.7% of telemedicine participants provided PSQ scores of satisfied or highly satisfied at each timepoint, respectively). Study participants indicated that attributes associated with high telemedicine encounter satisfaction included: (1) communicating study information, (2) gaining trust, and (3) delivering patient-centered care. Participants weighted "General Satisfaction" and "Time Spent with Doctor" higher than "Accessibility and Convenience," and female participants were significantly more satisfied than males. Satisfaction with health care delivery among all participants increased significantly comparing timepoints. Conclusions: Participants were highly satisfied with HCV telemedicine encounters equivalent to in-person encounters. Communication augments trust facilitating delivery of patient-centered care through telemedicine. Participants value empathy and trust with providers over accessibility and convenience. In summary, PWOUD are highly satisfied with the facilitated telemedicine model and value empathetic and trusting providers. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02933970.

Keywords: hepatitis C virus (HCV); mixed methods; people with opioid use disorders; substance users; telemedicine.

Conflict of interest statement

A.H.T. has received honoraria and funds to his institution from Gilead Sciences and Abbvie, Inc. None of the other authors have any conflicts of interest.


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Source: PubMed