Viers B.R., Lightner D.J., Rivera M.E., Tollefson M.K., Boorjian S.A., Karnes R.J., Thompson R.H., O’Neil D.A., Hamilton R.L., Gardner M.R., Bundrick M., Jenkins S.M., Pruthi S., Frank I., Gettman M.T.
European Urology 2015 68:4 (729-735)
Background: Telemedicine in an ambulatory surgical population remains incompletely evaluated. Objective To investigate patient encounters in the outpatient setting using video visit (VV) technology compared to traditional office visits (OVs). Design, setting, and participants From June 2013 to March 2014, 55 prescreened men with a history of prostate cancer were prospectively randomized. VVs, with the patient at home or at work, were included in the outpatient clinic calendar of urologists. Intervention Remote VV versus traditional OV. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis An equivalence analysis was used to assess the primary outcome, visit efficiency as measured by time studies. Secondary outcomes were patient/provider satisfaction and costs. Results and limitations There were 28 VVs and 27 OVs. VVs were equivalent in efficiency to relative to OVs, as measured by patient-provider face time (mean 14.5 vs 14.3 min; p = 0.96), patient wait time (18.4 vs 13.0 min; p = 0.20), and total time devoted to care (17.9 vs 17.8 min; p = 0.97). There were no significant differences in patient perception of visit confidentiality, efficiency, education quality, or overall satisfaction. VVs incurred lower costs, including distance traveled (median 0 vs 95 miles), travel time (0 vs 95 min), missed work (0 vs 1 d), and money spent on travel ($0 vs $48; all p < 0.0001). There was a high level of urologist satisfaction for both VVs (88%) and OVs (90%). The major limitation was sample size. Conclusions VV in the ambulatory postprostatectomy setting may have a future role in health care delivery models. We found equivalent efficiency, similar satisfaction, but significantly reduced patient costs for VV compared to OV. Further prospective analyses are warranted. Patient summary Among men with surgically treated prostate cancer, we evaluated the utility of remote video visits compared to office visits for outpatient consultation with a urologist. Video visits were associated with equivalent efficiency, similar satisfaction, and significantly lower patient costs when compared to office visits. We conclude that video visits may have a future role in health care delivery models.