As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been rethinking going in for a traditional doctor’s appointment. Instead, different options have become much more common. While telehealth services were around prior to the start of the pandemic, online doctors’ visits have now become part of the accepted norm for seeing a doctor.
We recently surveyed 471 members of MyParkinsonsTeam (387 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and 84 caregivers for someone diagnosed) about their experiences with and perceptions of telehealth — both before and after March 2020.
Given the circumstances of the pandemic, many MyParkinsonsTeam members have tried telehealth. That isn’t surprising. What is surprising is how much better they now regard virtual appointments after trying them. In other words, if they gave it a chance, they were pleased with their online health care. In fact, 68 percent of survey respondents said they were comfortable with their telehealth experience. In addition, 53 percent said they are likely to use telehealth in the future (compared to just 26 percent of respondents who have not tried telehealth before).
MyParkinsonsTeam members who took the survey really liked all aspects of online health care relating to convenience. For example, among those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease who tried telehealth between March and July 2020:
Regardless of whether they have tried telehealth, MyParkinsonsTeam survey respondents were as likely to say telehealth is better for routine matters (55 percent for those who have tried it and 58 percent for those who have not).
While this may evolve in the future, almost all MyParkinsonsTeam members who met with doctors online said the visits were with doctors they already knew from earlier appointments. About 80 percent had an appointment with a primary care doctor they had seen before, and 88 percent had an appointment with a specialist they had seen before.
One MyParkinsonsTeam member who liked her experience with a virtual doctor’s appointment said, “I had a telemedicine appointment with my neurologist this morning, so convenient.” Another agreed, responding, “Especially with times being what they are, it is way more convenient than having to drive to an appointment.”
Another member was very satisfied with her online experience with a Parkinson’s disease specialist. She wrote that she saw the specialist “over the telemedicine program, and I can tell you I received as thorough an exam there as I did in person.”
You can read the full results of the survey in the slides below. We believe it is important to share research results with the MyParkinsonsTeam community.
Have you tried online appointments for your Parkinson’s care? Do you have any questions about the telehealth process? Add your comments below or on MyParkinsonsTeam.