Assessing Orthopedic Patient Preferences for Mandated Virtual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Elective Virtual Care in Non-Pandemic Circumstances
Yedulla NR, Faraj MT, Koolmees DS, Battista EB, Montgomery ZA, and Day CS. Assessing Orthopedic Patient Preferences for Mandated Virtual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Elective Virtual Care in Non-Pandemic Circumstances. Orthopedics 2021; 44(4):e471-e476.
The purpose of this study was to compare orthopedic patient preferences for mandated virtual care during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and elective virtual care during non-pandemic circumstances. An orthopedic virtual care questionnaire was administered to adult orthopedic patients undergoing their first orthopedic virtual visit between March 15, 2020, and May 18, 2020. The questionnaire had 13 items rated on a 1-to-5 Likert scale ("strongly agree" to "strongly disagree"). Responses were compared using Kruskal-Wallis and nonparametric Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Patients showed higher preferences for mandated virtual care during the pandemic when compared with elective virtual care during non-pandemic circumstances (2.25±1.31 vs 4.10±1.25, P<.0001) and also preferred virtual visits in other specialties compared with orthopedics (2.17±1.35 vs 2.79±1.42, P<.0001). Patients older than 50 years were more likely to view virtual care as the best option during the pandemic (2.06±1.25 vs 2.48±1.35, P<.0165) and equally as effective as in-person visits in non-pandemic circumstances (2.45±1.36 vs 2.83±1.18, P<.0150). Female patients were more likely to pursue future orthopedic virtual visits (2.61±1.37 vs 3.07±1.45, P<.0203) and view their virtual visit as equally effective as an in-person visit (2.47±1.33 vs 2.87±1.18, P<.0181). Orthopedic patient preference for mandated virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be higher than for elective virtual care during non-pandemic circumstances, and older and female patients appear to favor virtual care.