Adam J. Gadzinski, MD, MS, on the Limitations of a Study Assessing the Impact of Telemedicine on Patient-Reported Outcomes

December 28, 2020
Adam J. Gadzinski, MD, MS

Study results revealed the impact of a rurally focused telemedicine program on patient outcomes.

Study results presented at the Society of Urologic Oncology 21st Annual Meeting determined the impact of a rurally focused telemedicine program on patient outcomes in the urologic oncology outpatient clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC).

Through their research, the investigators determined that telemedicine provides a medium for cancer care delivery that eliminates the significant travel burden associated with in-person clinic appointments.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Adam J. Gadzinski, MD, MS, urologic oncology fellow and acting instructor of Urologic Oncology at the Urology Clinic at UWMC, explained the limitations of the study.

Transcription:

One of the limitations is that the survey was completed by roughly 42% of patients who were eligible for the survey. [Therefore], one limitation is [that] we don’t know what those other 58% of people thought; maybe they were the ones that hated telemedicine.

One of the other potential limitations is that we did not send the survey to patients who had what we called a “failed telemedicine visit”, or patients who were scheduled for telemedicine and then it didn't work and we had to call them on the phone. When we designed the study, we did not plan to include that group. We have kept track of who those patients were, but they did not systematically receive surveys. That’s another limitation and we don't know what the “failed telemedicine” patient-reported outcomes would be. I suspect they’d be a little less enthused about their visit.

We are planning to compare the patient characteristics of those who had a failed telemedicine visit versus a successful one. We haven’t done that yet, but that’s [on] one of our many to-do lists for the subsequent studies.