Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess patient interest and willingness to pay (WTP) for teleophthalmology services, whose benefits include improved healthcare access and potential cost savings.
Patients and methods: Cross-sectional study of 215 patients attending a single tertiary center to assess their interest in teleophthalmology. Comparisons between those interested and those not interested were conducted; logistic regression was used to evaluate the effect of price on interest.
Results: Two thirds (66.5%) of patients were interested in teleophthalmology instead of in-person clinic visits. Those interested were significantly younger than uninterested patients (48.8±22.7 vs 62.4±18.3 years) and were more likely to miss work to attend clinic, own both a computer and smartphone, have experience with video conferencing, and use the internet frequently (all P<0.05). Interested patients were also more likely to indicate time and cost savings, as well as improved follow-up testing, compared to uninterested patients (both P<0.001). Overall, 70.4% of interested patients expressed WTP out-of-pocket for teleservices, especially at low (<$14 US dollars) and moderate-high (>$28) price points. Higher level of education was associated with WTP (OR=2.31, 95% CI 1.05-5.06; P=0.037).
Conclusion: Most patients were interested in teleophthalmology services, especially if they were young, would otherwise miss work, and were familiar with electronics, video conferencing, and internet use. Most interested patients expressed WTP out-of-pocket. Targeting factors related to teleophthalmology interest may increase patient use and enhance communication, thereby improving healthcare access and follow-up.
Shiuey, Eric; Fox, Yehuda; Kurnick, Adam; Rachmiel, Rony; Kurtz, Shimon; and Waisbourd, Michael, "Integrating Telemedicine Services in Ophthalmology: Evaluating Patient Interest and Perceived Benefits" (2021). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 320.
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