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Telemedicine utilisation in a paediatric sports medicine practice: decreased cost and wait times with increased satisfaction

Abstract

Objectives Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication to provide healthcare remotely. We sought to quantify time/cost savings and satisfaction between a cohort of telemedicine and inperson visits in a tertiary paediatric orthopaedic clinic.

Methods Time for clinical visits and wait times were compared between telemedicine and inperson visits. Costs to patients and department were also calculated for both visit types. Parents completed a five-item satisfaction survey regarding their telemedicine experience.

Results Visit times (15 vs 68 min, P<0.001) and wait times (2 vs 33 min, P<0.001) were shorter for telemedicine visits. Families saved 85 miles of driving and $50 in costs per telemedicine visit. Labour cost saved for a telemedicine visit was $24/patient. More than 90% of patients were satisfied with the telemedicine service.

Conclusion Telemedicine can be used in a sports medicine setting to provide care that reduces costs while maintaining high levels of patient satisfaction.

Level of evidence Level III.

  • economic analysis

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