Pediatric urological provider use and comfort level with telemedicine
Miyad Movassaghi, MD, MSc1, George M. Moran, MD1, Julia B. Finkelstein, MD, MPH2.
1Department of Urology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA, 2Department of Urology, Division of Pediatric Urology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, New York, NY, USA.
BACKGROUND: Given the rapid adoption of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, we sought to assess what current use and comfort level is with telemedicine within pediatric urology. Specifically, we aimed to evaluate practice patterns and provider comfort with regards to certain pediatric urologic diagnoses, postoperative conditions, and consultations.
METHODS: Data was prospectively collected through an anonymous online survey that was distributed to members of the Societies for Pediatric Urology (SPU). The survey included questions about demographics, telemedicine platforms, telemedicine experience, practice, and comfort level with using telemedicine for a number of pediatric urologic diagnoses. The survey was tested among a small group of pediatric urologists from across the United States, and further edited based on their comments.
RESULTS: Of 703 providers surveyed from the SPU listserv between February - April 2021, 116 completed the survey for a response rate of 16.5%. Respondent demographics are outlined in Table 1. Respondents were primarily physicians (97.4%) practicing in an academic setting (68.1%). The most common telemedicine platforms used included EPIC MyChart and Zoom. The majority of providers (71.6%) had 6 months or less experience with telemedicine prior to the pandemic. 80% of respondents stated that their current practice involves less than 25% telemedicine visits, with 83.6% desiring their clinic to be composed of up of 50% telemedicine visits. Respondents’ overall evaluation of telemedicine is presented in Figure 1. A little more than half of providers (56.1%) agreed that telemedicine fits well with the day’s workflow. Yet, approximately half (51.8%) felt that telemedicine does not allow them to see more patients. Almost two-thirds of providers (65.5%) felt that they could treat patients well through telemedicine. Utilization of telemedicine for specific visit reasons is detailed in Table 2.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to evaluate telemedicine provider comfort and national practice patterns within pediatric urology. Despite swift implementation with the COVID-19 pandemic, our survey data shows variable use and comfort with telemedicine among pediatric urologists, with clear preferences for utilizing this technology for certain conditions over others. This information will assist in refining efforts within pediatric urology in order to sustain appropriate telemedicine use after the COVID-19 crisis.
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