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Telemedicine during COVID-19 pandemic highly appreciated

Presented By
Dr Chia-Chun Chiang, Mayo Clinic, MN, USA
Presented by
Chia-Chun Chiang Mayo Clinic
AAN 2022

On behalf of the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), the patient experience of telemedicine for headache care during the COVID-19 pandemic was evaluated. Telemedicine resulted in high patient satisfaction rates. Almost all participants indicated that they would prefer to continue to use telemedicine for their headache care.

Dr Chia-Chun Chiang (Mayo Clinic, MN, USA) presented the results of one of the first studies to assess the patient perspective of telemedicine for headache care [1]. The AMF designed a standardised electronic questionnaire with 15 questions that was sent to over 100,000 AMF members to evaluate the period between March and September 2020. The results were published in Headache in May 2021 [2].

Included were 1,172 respondents. The average age was 49.5 years; 1,017 (88%) were women. Of 1,127 respondents, 648 (57.5%) said they had used telemedicine visits for headache care during the study period. Among this group, 553 patients (85.5%) used it for follow-up visits; 94 (14.5%) for new patient visits. Of 633 patients, only 47 (7.4%) received a new diagnosis of a headache disorder from telemedicine evaluation, the others did not have a change in their diagnoses. A new treatment was prescribed to 358 out of 636 patients (52.4%).

Of 638 participants, the experience using telemedicine for headache care was rated as very good by 396 (62.1%), good by 132 (20.7%), fair by 67 (10.5%), poor by 23 (3.6%), and other by 20 (3.1%). Most patients (89.8%) said they would continue to use telemedicine for their headache care and treatment, though half of them (45%) not for all visits. Among 524 respondents who did not use telemedicine visits, 293 (56%) said there was no need, but 255 (48.7%) said they were unaware that it was an option.

The study also revealed several barriers of care through telemedicine, including costs and availability. Dr Chiang said these challenges could be addressed by expanding insurance coverage to reimburse telemedicine, even after the pandemic, to widely promote and broadcast the use of telemedicine, and to consider internet access as a necessity and to expand internet service broadly in society.

  1. Chiang C-C, et al. Patient Experience of Telemedicine for Headache Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An American Migraine Foundation Survey Study. S4.010, AAN 2022, 02–07 April, Seattle, USA.

  2. Chiang C-C, et al. 2021;61(5):734‒739.

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