Exploring People’s Perceptions of Virtual Medical Appointments




Yu, Jenny

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Virtual medical appointments (VMAs), a form of telemedicine, are often appropriate substitutes to face-to-face interactions with health care providers. This study aims to build on previous research looking at the effectiveness of VMAs by comparing patients’ perceptions of VMAs, both via phone and video conferencing, with in-person medical appointments. Recruitment was done through REACH BC and online questionnaire was administered. Although participants (N=71) preferred in-person appointments for specific types of appointments, 75% of respondents found VMAs easier than in-person appointments and 67% indicated that there were no barriers to VMA use. Of those who did experience barriers to VMAs, technology issues such as poor internet and glitches like audio issues were the most common. In contrast, convenience and efficiency were the most common facilitators identified. Notably, a few respondents (3%) had not had a VMA via phone or video conferencing. Undoubtedly, VMAs facilitate patients’ access to their healthcare providers by decreasing time and costs, while increasing safety and convenience of medical appointments. As we continue to move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, it is important to mitigate the remaining barriers (e.g., infrastructure, security) to VMAs and increase adoption so more people can benefit from VMAs.



health information, eHealth, telehealth, virtual appointments, COVID-19, pandemic, perceptions, barriers, facilitators