A Survey of Patient Satisfaction with Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic at a Student-Run Free Clinic
Background: The UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project (SRFCP) is a free health clinic that serves the local uninsured and low-income population throughout San Diego. Its four physical clinic sites were moved to an entirely virtual telemedicine format with the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to investigate the patient satisfaction given an abrupt shift to telemedicine.
Methods: Patients were surveyed remotely over a seven-week period. The survey inquired about the patientsâ€™ experiences with telemedicine including technical ease, comfort using remote services as well as their perception of kindness and empathy from the medical team. The survey also included an open response section in which patients could provide further feedback.
Results: 97.6% of patients reported high satisfaction rates regarding their telemedicine experience, with 87.2% expressing a desire to continue with telemedicine in the future. Although some patients expressed a preference for in-person visits, many also expressed safety from the COVID-19 virus as well as convenience as benefits to telemedicine.
Conclusions: Overall, this survey provided insight into how telemedicine has been serving the SRFCPâ€™s patient population. High levels of satisfaction as well as many comments about safety and convenience suggest a successful implementation of telemedicine for a low-income, under-resourced population. We hope that positive aspects regarding telemedicine continue to be used to better patient care moving forward.