IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vizient, Inc. today released a report indicating that telehealth aids in accessing care for some patients while restriction of family and caregiver presence during the pandemic is a major barrier for others. The report, Connecting With Patients During COVID-19: Perspectives on Safety, is a summary of focus group discussions and pulse surveys conducted by Vizient from May 2020 through January 2021. Highlights include patients and families feeling less safe accessing care now since the start of the pandemic. When having to access care, the most preferred face-to-face setting remains visits in their primary care physician’s office while telehealth remains the most preferred setting when seeking care for minor illnesses. The full report can be accessed here.
The latest survey, conducted in December, included approximately 600 respondents. Additionally, Vizient hosted four focus groups that included 24 patients from 11 Vizient member health care organizations to gather perspective on their experience engaging with providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the focus groups, discussion regarding virtual health and the use of technology to connect patients to providers and families to their loved ones in hospitals was robust,” said Kellie Goodson, MS, CPXP, Performance Improvement Program director for Vizient. “Patients and families indicated they understand why hospitals placed restrictions on family and caregiver presence to stop the spread of the virus early in the pandemic, however, the general consensus was that patients need help and support from family members or caregivers to effectively access care and they would like health care providers to revisit these restrictions.”
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Key takeaways from the surveys include insights on:
Preferred care settings: Patients seek settings that limit their exposure to COVID-19 and feel safest going to their primary care physician’s office for face-to-face visits, for COVID-19 testing and to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The emergency department, freestanding urgent care and retail clinic settings are not considered safe settings in which to receive care by more than 50% of patients and families surveyed.
Telehealth: When seeking care for minor illnesses, telehealth remains the preferred setting. However, patients want their existing providers to offer telehealth as part of routine, follow-up and chronic care management. Video visits and text, email or telephone visits with an existing provider are by far the most preferred method of receiving virtual care when compared with using these types of visits with a new provider.