93% of clinicians say telehealth less accurate than in-office visits, UK study finds

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Researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Birmingham and other U.K.-based hospitals and universities launched a study to gauge clinicians' and patients' perception of virtual visits, according to a Nov. 2 report published in Oxford Academic.

For the study, researchers surveyed 1,340 patients and 111 clinicians between April and July. Ninety-six percent of study participants are from the United Kingdom, 32 percent have inflammatory arthritis and 32 percent have lupus.

Three study insights:

  1. Ninety-three percent of clinicians and 86 percent of patients said the accuracy of virtual visits was inferior to those of in-office visits. Misdiagnoses, among other inaccuracies, were frequently reported and attributed to the absence of exams and visual cues, according to the report.

  2. Ninety percent of clinicians and 69 percent of patients said telehealth was worse than in-person visits when it came to building trust. Clinicians cited nonverbal communication and being unable to use a reassuring touch with patients as top reasons virtual care disrupted trust between clinicians and patients. Patients said telehealth was more impersonal than in-person visits and that they were more likely to feel like a statistic or uncared for, according to the report.

  3. About 50 percent of clinicians and patients said clinicians were worse at listening during virtual visits, while fewer than 10 percent said clinicians were better at listening in virtual visits.

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