About the Research
Patient care is an important aspect of medicine and it includes follow-up talks with the doctor. Usually, after surgery or medical treatment, patients have to visit the doctor to check how their recovery is going. Traditionally that involves going to the doctor’s office or clinic. However, a group of doctors presented a different perspective at the virtual American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2020.
The research in question wants to determine if a virtual follow-up is as effective as the conventional face-to-face meeting. Also, the researchers want to determine if such an approach to patient care is pleasing for the patients.
The study in question was a non-inferiority, randomized controlled trial and it had a sample of 400 patients. The patients were split into two groups, one group had regular follow-ups and the other group had them over the screen. Furthermore, the patients had laser surgery of the appendix that left a wound. Therefore, an in-person follow-up is crucial to check the wound progress.
The researchers had two concerns. The first, that a virtual follow-up is not as detailed as one that is done in real life. Second, the patients will not like this form of communication with the doctor.
The research results show doctors can examine wounds over the screen just as effectively as they would in real life. Furthermore, many patients even expressed gratitude because this form of communication with the doctor gives them more flexibility. That is, they do not have to spend time traveling to the clinic and waiting in line. Not only that, both groups spent approximately the same time with the doctor and they were equally satisfied with the service.
The COVID-19 pandemic made people question conventional forms of doing things, that includes medical treatment. This research suggests that a virtual follow-up is no different than conventional in face meetings. Furthermore, even patients benefit, since the visit to the doctor does not disrupt their day significantly. Some patients were able to stay at work and do the follow-up from there.
- New research shows virtual follow-ups show great promise as a tool for patient care.
- Research shows patients like the new approach because it is convenient and not disruptive to their daily flow.