UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Evaluation of telephone and virtual visits for routine pediatric diabetes care during the COVID-19 pandemic Fung, Alex; Irvine, Mike; Ayub, Aysha; Ziabakhsh, Shabnam; Amed, Shazhan; Hursh, Brenden


Aims: To evaluate pediatric type 1 diabetes telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on assessing the usability of these visits and gathering patient perspectives. Methods: An online survey, which included a validated telehealth usability questionnaire, was offered via email to families with a telephone or virtual visit since the COVID-19-related cancellation of routine in-person care. Survey data was linked with the British Columbia (BC) Clinical Diabetes Registry. Outcomes between groups were assessed using Welch’s t-test. Associations with type of visit as well as with desire to return to in-person care were assessed with logistic regression models. Results: The response rate was 47%. Of 141 survey respondents, 87 had clinical data available in the BC Clinical Diabetes Registry, and thus were included in our analysis. Overall, telephone and virtual visits were rated highly for usability. Telephone visits were easier to learn to use, and simpler to understand; however, telephone and virtual visits were similar across multiple areas. No factors associated with choosing one type of visit over the other, or with desire to return to in-person care, could be identified. 72% of participants want future telehealth care; however, some would like all future care to be in-person. Conclusions: Telephone and virtual visits had impressive usability. Many families want telehealth to play a significant part in their future care.

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