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OBJECTIVES: To assess the patient satisfaction with telepsychiatry consultations, and whether time and money was saved by patients availing the service.
METHODS: Anonymous internet survey using Google Form method, was conducted between April 2020 and September 2020 to collect data from patients using teleconsultation in out-patients psychiatry clinic. The google form consisted of patient satisfaction questionnaire, demographic details, and additional questions about the money and time saved by patients using the service.
RESULTS: Out of 260 participants, 152, (58.5%) were males, 148 (58.3 %) were married and majority (n=157: 60.4%) of patients were <40 years of age. About 62.7% (n=163) were highly educated. Majority (n=108; 41.5%) of the survey participants were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The average cost saving was Pakistani Rupees 3000 for the consultation whereas the average time saved was 1.5 days. Patients were happy during communication with doctor including seeing doctor on screen (85.7%), hearing to doctor (90.4%), talking to doctor (84.6%) and discussion of their care plan (81.6%). Majority (79.2%) of the survey participants were happy with the meeting of care needs and 86.5% were happy to avail the service in future.
CONCLUSION: The study underscores the importance of telepsychiatry as mode of service delivery during the pandemics. The findings demonstrated a high level of patient satisfaction, considerable amount of time and money saving indicates the effectiveness of telepsychiatry consultation. It needs to expand the telepsychiatry service both in public and private hospitals and also test this model on a representative sample of patients in Pakistan.
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