Physician perceptions of stress and telemedicine
Introduction: Telemedicine is an emerging field in which physicians can interact electronically with patients to improve health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine has grown exponentially. As physicians work to provide equally high-quality care for their patients remotely, their experiences must be considered.
Methods: This study utilized an online anonymous survey of physicians to assess their satisfaction, comfort level and student involvement when using telemedicine for patient care.
Results: Overall, physicians’ experiences with the integration of telemedicine into their practices varied based on gender, the presence of medical students, age and prior experience with telemedicine. Physicians are more comfortable with telemedicine now than they had been prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and physicians who had prior experience were less likely to find it stressful to incorporate. Physicians in both the youngest (30–39 years old) and oldest (60 and older) categories reported the highest levels of satisfaction with telemedicine. Female physicians indicated they will be more likely to incorporate more telemedicine into practice in the future, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the specialties surveyed, family physicians report the lowest levels of comfort and satisfaction with telemedicine.
Conclusion: Physician respondents of this survey provided valuable data on the perceptions of the widespread incorporation of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further research can follow which physicians choose to keep telemedicine integrated into their practices and how the demand for these virtual visits may change in the coming months.