Survey Finds Changes to Physician–Patient Communication During COVID-19

July 25, 2020

Page Number: 51-52

A survey by MJH Life Science reveals how patient communication has evolved across clinical practices in the wake of COVID-19.

According to a survey by MJH Life Sciences™, physicians across multiple specialties have had increased communication with patients since the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), mostly focused on acute, chronic, and COVID-19–related issues. Increased communication between physicians and patients is in large part due to patient apprehension about receiving health services in person as well as the need for practitioners to inform their patients that services are still available.

Based on the survey, reasons for utilizing telehealth in the future include flexibility, safety of staff and patients, adaptability, communication, and compassion. The big-gest concern for many physicians regarding reopening facilities was the ability to create a safe environment for patients and staff.

Physicians surveyed included practicing oncologists, inter-nal medicine and family/general practice, neurology, pediat-rics, obstetrician/gynecology, dermatology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, and rheumatology. In total, 1324 responses were received, with 43 responses from oncology specialists and 243 responses from primary care physicians.

Almost 90% of primary care physicians who participated in the survey inform their patients about COVID-19 testing opportunities. Respons-es showed that more than half of these physicians (54%) will continue using telehealth and other remote services more often to communicate with their patients, even when the pandemic is over. A challenge for this space is providing care for patients who lack access to technology and may find it more difficult to take advantage of telehealth services, according to 23% of primary care physicians surveyed.

Oncology specialists reported that surgical procedures were a priority once in-person vis-its resume, followed closely by medical visits. They also noted that they will continue to use telemedicine for screening and communication even after practices reopen.