The use of telemedicine in a sports medicine setting could provide efficient care to patients, reduced costs, and high levels of patient satisfaction, compared to in-person visits, according to a recent study.

The study, performed by Alfred Atanda Jr, MD, and colleagues, compared clinical visit time and wait times between patients younger than 18 who had either a telemedicine visit or an in-person visit at a tiertiary pediatric orthopedic center.

The researchers calculated costs to patients and department. The patients also completed a five-item satisfaction survey regarding their telemedicine experience.

Compared with in-patient visits, results showed that patients who had a telemedicine visit had shorter visits and shorter wait times, greater percentages of time spent with the provider, lower labor costs, and lower travel costs.

The researchers also found that elemedicine visits saved families 85 miles of driving and $50 in costs per visit, as well as $24 per patient in labor cost. Overall, researchers noted more than 90% of patients who had a telemedicine visit were satisfied with the service, explains a media release from Healio.

“Telemedicine is predicted to become one of the most disruptive innovations in health care delivery and patient engagement. We do need to remember, however, that it is not meant to completely replace traditional in-person visits, but meant to augment and enhance how traditional clinical care is delivered,” Atanda says.

The study was published recently in the Journal of ISAKOS, the official journal of the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.

[Source: Healio]