Exploring Patient and Staff Experiences With Video Consultations During COVID-19 in an English Outpatient Care Setting: Secondary Data Analysis of Routinely Collected Feedback Data
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Background Video consultations (VCs) were rapidly implemented in response to COVID-19 despite modest progress before. Objective We aim to explore staff and patient experiences with VCs implemented during COVID-19 and use feedback insights to support quality improvement and service development. Methods Secondary data analysis was conducted on 955 patient and 521 staff responses (from 4234 consultations; 955/4234, 22.6% and 521/4234, 12.3%, respectively) routinely collected following a VC between June and July 2020 in a rural, older adult, and outpatient care setting at a National Health Service Trust. Responses were summarized using descriptive statistics and inductive thematic analysis and presented to Trust stakeholders. Results Most patients (890/955, 93.2%) reported having good (210/955, 22%) or very good (680/955, 71.2%) experience with VCs and felt listened to and understood (904/955, 94.7%). Most patients accessed their VC alone (806/955, 84.4%) except for those aged ≥71 years (23/58, 40%), with ease of joining VCs negatively associated with age (P<.001). Despite more difficulties joining, older adults were most likely to be satisfied with the technology (46/58, 79%). Patients and staff generally felt that patients’ needs had been met (860/955, 90.1% and 453/521, 86.9%, respectively), although staff appeared to overestimate patient dissatisfaction with VC outcomes (P=.02). Patients (848/955, 88.8%) and staff (419/521, 80.5%) felt able to communicate everything they wanted, although patients were significantly more positive than staff (P<.001). Patient satisfaction with communication was positively associated with technical performance satisfaction (P<.001). Most staff members (466/521, 89.4%) reported positive (185/521, 35.5%) or very positive (281/521, 53.9%) experiences with joining and managing VCs. Staff reported reductions in carbon footprint (380/521, 72.9%) and time (373/521, 71.6%). Most patients (880/955, 92.1%) would choose VCs again. We identified three themes in responses: barriers, including technological difficulties, patient information, and suitability concerns; potential benefits, including reduced stress, enhanced accessibility, cost, and time savings; and suggested improvements, including trial calls, turning music off, photo uploads, expanding written character limit, supporting other internet browsers, and shared online screens. This routine feedback, including evidence to suggest that patients were more satisfied than clinicians had anticipated, was presented to relevant Trust stakeholders, allowing for improved processes and supporting the development of a business case to inform the Trust decision on continuing VCs beyond COVID-19 restrictions. Conclusions The findings highlight the importance of regularly reviewing and responding to routine feedback following digital service implementation. The feedback helped the Trust improve the VC service, challenge clinician-held assumptions about patient experience, and inform future use of VCs. It has focused improvement efforts on patient information; technological improvements such as blurred backgrounds and interactive whiteboards; and responding to the needs of patients with dementia, communication or cognitive impairment, or lack of appropriate technology. These findings have implications for other health care providers.
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