BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic necessitated a rapid transition from in-person evaluations to remote delivery of care, including both video and telephone visits, in allergy/immunology practices .
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate patient satisfaction, patient and physician impression of encounter completeness, and reimbursement between in-person, video, and telephone encounters . This study also assessed factors influencing patient satisfaction, perception of completeness, and choice of future evaluation type .
METHODS: This was a prospective study of all encounters at a healthcare-system owned practice . Encounter type, encounter modality, patient demographics, primary diagnoses, reimbursement data, and physician assessment of encounter completeness were tracked . Patient satisfaction was assessed via standardized questions .
RESULTS: There were 447 encounters, with 303 (67.8 %) in-person , 98 (21.9 %) video, and 46 (10.3 %) telephone . Patient satisfaction data was obtained from 251 patients . There was similar patient satisfaction among all encounter modalities . Both patients and physicians were more likely to deem an in-person encounter as complete . Physicians were more likely to report an in-person encounter to be complete for food allergy (p <0.001) and chronic rhinitis (p=0.001) as compared to video or telephone, whereas patients reported in-person encounters for food allergy to be complete as compared to other modalities (p=0.002). Patients reported that future encounter types should depend on the clinical situation .
CONCLUSIONS: There was similar patient satisfaction with in-person, video, and telephone encounters in an allergy/immunology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic . Chronic rhinitis and food allergy are more likely to call for an in-person evaluation . New patient visits are likely to be the most high-yield to focus on for in-person evaluations.