Telehealth during COVID-19 restrictions in patients with cardiovascular disease: impact on medication prescriptions and patient satisfaction

Nestor Gahungu, Nick S R Lan, Sameera Gamalath, Jane Phan, Vikas Bhat, Rhys Spencer, Sarah A Hitchen, James M Rankin, Girish Dwivedi, Abdul Rahman Ihdayhid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Telehealth plays an integral part in healthcare delivery. The impact of telehealth and the COVID-19 pandemic on medication prescribing and patient satisfaction with telehealth in cardiology clinics remains unknown.

METHODS: A retrospective study of cardiology clinic patients at an Australian tertiary hospital was conducted; 630 patients seen before the COVID-19 pandemic (0.6% telehealth) and 678 during the pandemic (91.2% telehealth) were included. Medication changes, new prescriptions and time to obtaining prescriptions after clinic were compared. To evaluate patients' experiences, cardiology clinic patients reviewed during the pandemic were prospectively invited to participate in an electronic survey sent to their mobile phones.

RESULTS: The overall rates of medication changes made in the clinic between the prepandemic and the pandemic periods did not differ significantly (26.9% vs 25.8%). Compared with prepandemic, new cardiac medication prescriptions during clinic were significantly less (9.3% vs 2.5%; P < 0.0001) and recommendations to general practitioners (GP) to initiate cardiac medications were significantly more (2.6% vs 9.1%; P < 0.0001). Time to obtaining new prescriptions was significantly longer in the pandemic cohort (median 0 days (range: 0-32) vs 10.5 days (range: 0-231); P < 0.0001). Two hundred forty-three (32.7%) patients participated in the survey; 50% reported that telehealth was at least as good as face-to-face consultations. Most patients (61.5%) were satisfied with telehealth and most (62.9%) wished to see telehealth continued postpandemic.

CONCLUSION: Telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with greater reliance on GP to prescribe cardiac medications and delays in obtaining prescriptions among cardiology clinic patients. Although most patients were satisfied with telehealth services, nearly half of the cardiac patients expressed preference towards traditional face-to-face consultations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2024

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