Adherence and acceptability of telehealth appointments for high-risk obstetrical patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Background:Telehealth has been successfully implemented for the delivery of obstetrical care. However, little is known regarding the attitudes and acceptability of patients and providers in high-risk obstetrics and whether the implementation of a telehealth model improves access to care in nonrural settings. Objective:This study aimed to describe patient and provider attitudes toward telehealth for the delivery of high-risk obstetrical care in a large healthcare system with both urban and suburban settings and to determine whether the implementation of a telehealth model improves patient adherence to scheduled appointments in this patient population. Study Design:Two self-administered surveys were designed. The first survey was sent to all high-risk obstetrical patients who received a telehealth visit between March 1, 2020, and May 30, 2020. The second survey was designed for providers who participated in these visits. We also compared the attended, cancelled, and no-show visit rates before (March 1 to May 30, 2019) and after (March 1 to May 30, 2020) the telehealth implementation and telehealth vs in-person visits in 2020. We reviewed scheduled high-risk prenatal care appointments, diabetes mellitus education sessions, and genetic counseling and Maternal-Fetal Medicine consultations. Results:A total of 91 patient surveys and 33 provider surveys were analyzed. Overall, 86.9% of patients were satisfied with the care they received and 78.3% would recommend telehealth visits to others. Notably, 87.8% of providers reported having a positive experience using telehealth, and 90.9% believed that telehealth improved patients' access to care. When comparing patient and provider preference regarding future obstetrical care after experiencing telehealth, 73.8% of patients desired a combination of in-person and telehealth visits during their pregnancy. However, a significantly higher rate of providers preferred in-person than telehealth visits (56% vs 23%, P=.024, respectively). When comparing visits between 2019 and 2020, there was a significantly lower rate of no-show appointments (8.49% vs 4.61%, P<.001), patient-cancelled appointments (7.06% vs 4.96%, P<.001), and patient same-day cancellations (2.30% vs 1.35%, P<.001) with the implementation of telehealth. There was also a significantly lower rate of patient-cancelled appointments (3.82% vs 5.44%, P=.021) and patient same-day cancellations (0.60% vs 1.65%, P=.002) with those receiving telehealth visits than in-person visits in 2020. Conclusion:The implementation of a telehealth model in high-risk obstetrics has the potential to improve access to high-risk obstetrical care, by reducing the rate of missed appointments. Both patients and providers surveyed expressed a high rate of satisfaction with telehealth visits and a desire to integrate telehealth into the traditional model of high-risk obstetrical care.