Decision Aid on Orthopedic Virtual Care: Patient Preferences in Orthopedic Hand Clinic

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Telemedicine journal and e-health


Introduction: The objectives of this study are to develop a decision aid for orthopedic patients to decide between virtual or in-person care and assess patient preferences for these modalities in hand clinic.

Methods: An orthopedic virtual care decision aid was developed alongside orthopedic surgeons and a virtual care expert. Subject participation involved 5 steps: Orientation, Memory, and Concentration Test (OMCT), knowledge pretest, decision aid, postdecision aid questionnaire, and Decisional Conflict Scale (DCS) assessment. Patients presenting to hand clinic were initially provided the OMCT to assess decision-making capacity, with those failing excluded. Subjects were then administered a pretest to assess their understanding of virtual and in-person care. Subsequently, the validated decision aid was provided to patients, after which a postdecision aid questionnaire and DCS assessment were administered.

Results: This study enrolled 124 patients. Pre- to postdecision aid knowledge test scores increased by 15.3% (p < 0.0001), and the average patient DCS score was 18.6. After reading the decision aid, 47.6% of patients believed that virtual and in-person care provided similar physician interaction, 46.0% felt little difference in effectiveness between the modalities, and 39.5% had no preference for either. Most patients understood their options (79.8%) and were ready to make a care modality decision (65.4%) following decision aid administration.

Conclusion: Significant improvements in knowledge scores, strong DCS scores, and high levels of understanding and decision-making readiness support decision aid validity. Hand patients appear to have no consensus preferences for care modality, emphasizing the need for a decision aid to help determine individual care preferences.

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ePub ahead of print