Are Patients Satisfied With Virtual Hospital Care?

Recently, new methods of care have begun to be used by the medical community and patients receiving care. One such example is virtual hospital care. This type of care model provides acute medical care within the home of the patient instead of in a hospital setting. The idea is simple – older patients requiring acute care receive the same level of high-quality care in a setting that is more relaxed, less costly, and with fewer complications.
There have been several studies done in the past as to the overall satisfaction levels of those involved with virtual hospital care. A Cochrane review found that while caregiver reaction was mixed, patients reported much greater satisfaction with their virtual hospital treatment than with traditional hospital care.

A new study by Bruce Leff, MD, titled Satisfaction with Virtual Hospital Care has taken an even closer look at this question. The goal of the study was to examine patient and family satisfaction with more detail and then compare it to the satisfaction experienced in traditional hospital care settings.

The study was conducted on 214 elderly patients who required acute hospital admission for a variety of conditions. Of these, 84 received virtual hospital care while 130 received traditional acute care in a hospital. Family members of patients were given a 37-question survey that measured eight domains of care while patients were given a 40-question survey. Domains included in the surveys were:

• Confidence interval
• Satisfaction with physician
• Admission processes
• Overall care experience
• Comfort and convenience of care
• Pain management
• Discharge procedures
• Nursing staff satisfaction
• Satisfaction of staff

Satisfaction was assessed two weeks after the care was provided, with telephone interviews administered by a third-party survey research firm. This firm had no information as to the hypotheses of the study. Additionally, patents were asked to identify a friend, family member, or caregiver who could describe the patient before and after their treatment. In 79% of the cases, a family member was chosen. Then, these individuals were contacted for the survey as well.

The results of the study found that those receiving virtual hospital care were much more likely than those treated in an acute hospital setting to report being satisfied with their physician and the overall care experience that they received during treatment. As such, it is clear that a virtual hospital is more than just a viable alternative to traditional hospitalization and treatment. Instead, it is quickly and steadily becoming one of the best ways to receive treatment without having to spend days or even weeks in a traditional hospital setting.

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