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CVS: Patients give high marks to telehealth

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MinuteClinic pilot shows high levels of patient satisfaction

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Retail clinic patients find the telehealth experience very satisfying, according to a CVS Health Research Institute study of a pilot program at MinuteClinic.

MinuteClinic Oct2014CVS said Tuesday that satisfaction with quality of care and other factors were measured among patients participating in a telehealth technology pilot conducted at MinuteClinic locations in California and Texas last year. The findings were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study evaluated responses from more than 1,700 patients who took part in the MinuteClinic telehealth pilot. Patients received services at a CVS MinuteClinic location that were provided by a remote clinician using telehealth technology. The patients were asked if they had health insurance and a primary care provider, and then they rated their satisfaction with a range of measures related to their telehealth visit, such as quality of care and convenience. Patients were also asked to rank their experience of a telehealth visit versus that of a traditional office visit, when the patient and a health care provider are face to face in the same room.

Overall, 95% of patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit, and the timeliness and convenience of their care, according to CVS.

“In the United States today, approximately a quarter of patients do not have a primary care provider or have incomplete access to one,” CVS Health chief scientific officer William Shrank said in a statement. “This lack of access, combined with an increased demand for care resulting from expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the challenge of finding convenient care for patients balancing work and personal responsibilities, necessitate exploration of alternative, high-quality care options such as telehealth in the MinuteClinic setting.”

The study also found that a third of patients preferred a telehealth visit to a visit with a clinician in the same room — especially among patients without health insurance — and nearly all patients indicated that a telehealth care experience is just as good as or better than a traditional office visit.

“MinuteClinic has long been focused on providing accessible, high-quality, affordable health care that is complementary and supportive of the primary care provider,” stated CVS/minuteclinic president Andrew Sussman, who’s also executive vice president and associate chief medical officer at CVS Health. “Telehealth provides us with an opportunity to offer convenient, high-quality care to an extended group of patients, and this data confirms that patients are highly satisfied with this new type of health care provider visit.”


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