Survey of Telemedicine by Pediatric Nephrologists During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Kidney International Reports
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Introduction: The slow increase in use of telemedicine began to expand rapidly, along with reimbursement changes, during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Standardized protocols for these services are lacking but are needed for effective and equitable health care. In this study, we queried pediatric nephrologists and their patients about their telemedicine experiences during the pandemic. Methods: Surveys that were in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act were deployed online to patients and physicians. Results: We collected survey responses from 400 patients and 197 pediatric nephrologists. Patients reported positive experiences with telemedicine visits as it was logistically easier than in-person visits. Patients also felt that the quality of their visits were equivalent to what they would receive in person. Physicians used a wide variety of online systems to conduct synchronous telemedicine with Zoom (23%), EPIC (9%), Doxy.me (7%), services not specified (37%), or a mix of local or smaller services (24%). Most physicians' concerns were related to technological issues and the ability to procure physical exams and/or laboratory results. Conclusions: There is a paucity of published trials on telemedicine services in pediatric nephrology. Virtual care was feasible and acceptable for patients, caregivers, and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.