Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via electronic communication. As with any process or intervention, it is essential to continually evaluate the efficacy of digital solutions for healthcare delivery. Healthcare professional can assess telehealth visits based on service user's satisfaction, experience, technical quality, usefulness, effect on interaction and effectiveness.
The focus here should be on service user's expectation; if the expectation were met. Overall satisfaction and willingness to reuse telehealth to receive healthcare services should be measured.Satisfaction questionnaire typically show ceiling effects e.g.most report 80‐100% satisfaction however they are not designed to be sensitive to variations in quality of services. Validated measures to measure patient satisfaction specific to telehealth include Telemedicine Satisfaction Questionnaire, Telemedicne Satisfaction and Usefulness Questionnaire, generic tools including Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire.
The focus here is on service user's experience of telehealth service which could be subjective or objective. The following dimensions should be evaluated- comfort, safety, values, equity, needs and preferences, participation in decisions, treated with compassion and respect.
Technology is a key aspect of telehealth service delivery and the focus of the evaluation here is technical quality of the platform used for telehealth. The visual and audio quality, reliability, ease of use and security should be evaluated.
The focus here is on evaluating if the service user found the service useful and/or benefits. Convenience, time & cost, accessibility, efficiency, acceptability, intent to use again and appropriateness are all measured in this domain.
Effect on Interaction
The focus here is to evaluate the effect of telehealth as a mode of healthcare delivery on the clinician-patient interaction. Effect on communication, ability to do assessment; effect of visual & non‐verbal cues has to be evaluated.
The focus here is to assess the effect on the service user's health service and/or well being. Change in knowledge, quality of life, health status, wellbeing, function etc. In addition, clinician confidence in diagnosis should be measured.
Evaluating Telehealth Visits
The following outcome measures can be used in evaluating the effectiveness of telehealth visits.
- Specific Patient‐Reported Measures
- Performance Measures
- Individualised Measures
- Patient Specific Functional Scale
- Goal Attainment Scale
- Functional Observation
- Bed mobility
- Functional ROM
- Impairment Measures
- Range of motion
- Pain- Numerical Pain Scale
- Activity – independence, time, frequency
- Walking distance, duration, frequency
- Duration to complete a task e.g. dress
Resources and Further Reading
- Gutiérrez‐Sánchez D et al. Instruments for measuring satisfaction with physical therapy care: A systematic review. American Journal of Physical Therapy. E‐publication ahead of print. June 2020.
- Langbecker D et al. Using survey methods in telehealth research: A practical guide. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2017, Vol. 23(9) 770–779.
- Patient‐reported outcome measures may be integrated into virtual orthopedic care
- BC Quality Matrix
- Williams TL, May CR and Esmail A. Limitations of patient satisfaction studies in telehealthcare: A systematic review of the literature. Telemed J E Health 2001; 7: 293–316.
- Yip MP, Chang AM, Chan J, et al. Development of the Telemedicine Satisfaction Questionnaire to evaluate patient satisfaction with telemedicine: A preliminary study. J Telemed Telecare 2003; 9: 46–50.