Factors Influencing Patients' Initial Decisions Regarding Telepsychiatry Participation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Telephone-Based Survey (Preprint) [post]

Jennifer Severe, Ruiqi Tang, Faith Horbatch, Regina Onishchenko, Vidisha Naini, Mary Carol Blazek
2020 unpublished
BACKGROUND Telepsychiatry enables patients to establish or maintain psychiatric care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known about the factors influencing patients' initial decisions to participate in telepsychiatry in the midst of a public health crisis. OBJECTIVE This paper seeks to examine factors influencing patients' initial decisions to accept or decline telepsychiatry immediately after the stay-at-home order in Michigan, their initial choice of virtual care modality (video or
more » ... ity (video or telephone), and their anticipated participation in telepsychiatry once clinics reopen for in-person visits. METHODS Between June and August 2020, we conducted a telephone-based survey using a questionnaire comprising 14 quantitative and two qualitative items as part of a quality improvement initiative. We targeted patients who had an in-person appointment date that fell in the first few weeks following the Michigan governor's stay-at-home order, necessitating conversion to virtual visits or deferment of in-person care. We used descriptive statistics to report individual survey responses and assess the association between chosen visit type and patient characteristics and future participation in telepsychiatry using multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS A total of 244 patients whose original in-person appointments were scheduled within the first 3 weeks of the stay-at-home order in Michigan completed the telephone survey. The majority of the 244 respondents (n=202, 82.8%) initially chose to receive psychiatric care through video visits, while 13.5% (n=33) chose telephone visits and 1.2% (n=3) decided to postpone care until in-person visit availability. Patient age correlated with chosen visit type (<i>P</i>&lt;.001; 95% CI 0.02-0.06). Patients aged ≥44 years were more likely than patients aged 0-44 years to opt for telephone visits (relative risk reduction [RRR] 1.2; 95% CI 1.06-1.35). Patient sex (<i>P</i>=.99), race (<i>P</i>=.06), type of insurance (<i>P</i>=.08), and number of previous visits to the clinic (<i>P</i>=.63) were not statistically relevant. Approximately half of the respondents (114/244, 46.7%) stated they were likely to continue with telepsychiatry even after in-person visits were made available. Telephone visit users were less likely than video visit users to anticipate future participation in telepsychiatry (RRR 1.08; 95% CI 0.97-1.2). Overall, virtual visits met or exceeded expectations for the majority of users. CONCLUSIONS In this cohort, patient age correlates with the choice of virtual visit type, with older adults more likely to choose telephone visits over video visits. Understanding challenges to patient-facing technologies can help advance health equity and guide best practices for engaging patients and families through telehealth.
doi:10.2196/preprints.25469 fatcat:hknmi66hhfdyzhje3rw4ldjgsq