WVU researchers find telemedicine may increase patients’ satisfaction with their medical care

Stories | WVU Today | West Virginia University

Cardiovascular disease pervades Appalachia, yet many Appalachians live far from any heart and vascular specialist. Follow-up doctor’s visits in the weeks after cardiovascular surgery can involve hours-long drives down narrow, winding roads.
A recent study led by Albeir Mousa, a professor in the West Virginia University School of Medicine, suggests telemedicine may improve these patients’ satisfaction with their postoperative care as well as their quality of life. Their results have been accepted for publication in The Annals of Vascular Surgery.
With telemedicine, a healthcare provider can use a computer, tablet or other electronic device to remotely evaluate their patients’ symptoms, diagnose illnesses or injuries, and prescribe treatments. They can also field their patients’ questions.
The 30 participants in Mousa’s study were recovering from vascular surgery. In each case, the surgeon made an incision in the patient’s groin to access the arteries that needed rebuilding or rerouting. Whether the incisions healed without complications was the study’s focus. 
Sixteen patients received tablets with Enform—a telemedicine app developed by TeleMed 2020 Inc.—that facilitated communication with nurses managing their care. As part of an in-home monitoring kit, patients also received thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, scales and devices to measure blood oxygen saturation levels. 
Each day, patients who had been discharged from the hospital weighed themselves, took their temperature, measured their pulse and blood pressure, and determined their blood oxygen levels using the Enform app. They completed a wellness and symptom tracking quiz that included questions like “How is your pain today?” Each week they answered satisfaction and emotional wellness questions as well. These data, along with photos of the surgical incision sites that patients captured with the app—were made available to the patients’ care team. 
Care managers, in turn, logged into the telemedicine platform daily to review the information patients had submitted from their homes. Cares managers received notifications …

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