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Telehepatology Satisfaction Is Associated with Ethnicity: The Real-World Experience of a Vulnerable Population with Fatty Liver Disease

  • Kim, Rebecca G
  • Patel, Shyam
  • Satre, Derek D
  • Shumway, Martha
  • Chen, Jennifer Y
  • Magee, Catherine
  • Wong, Robert J
  • Monto, Alexander
  • Cheung, Ramsey
  • Khalili, Mandana
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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BackgroundSince the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began, telemedicine use has transformed healthcare delivery. Yet there is concern that telemedicine may widen care disparities for vulnerable populations, and patient experience data are limited.AimsWe aimed to assess patient satisfaction with hepatology-related telemedicine (telehepatology) for delivery of fatty liver disease (FLD) care in a safety-net healthcare system.MethodsAdult patients with FLD were surveyed regarding satisfaction with telehepatology. Clinical, demographic, resources, and social determinants of health (SDoH) data were collected to identify factors associated with satisfaction through multivariable modeling.ResultsFrom June 2020 to March 2022, 220 participants were enrolled: the median age was 52 years, 37% were men, and 68% were Hispanic. One hundred nineteen (54%) had prior telehepatology experience. Overall, satisfaction was high; 70% reported being somewhat or very satisfied. On univariate analysis, Hispanic ethnicity (versus non-Hispanic, OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.1-0.9, p = 0.03) and limited access to personal cellphone/internet (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.04-0.6, p = 0.01) were associated with lower satisfaction. On multivariable logistic regression modeling adjusted for pandemic duration, age, sex, severity of liver disease, and coexisting liver disease, Hispanic ethnicity and lack of personal cellphone/internet remained independently associated with lower telehepatology satisfaction (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.07-0.9, p = 0.03 and OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.04-0.9, p = 0.04, respectively). The association remained statistically significant after inclusion of various SDoH in the multivariable model.ConclusionsSatisfaction with telehepatology among FLD patients in a safety-net clinical setting was high overall. However, Hispanic ethnicity and lack of personal cellphone/internet were independently associated with lower telehepatology satisfaction. A better understanding of patients' experience with telehepatology is needed to identify reasons for dissatisfaction, and in-person visits should remain an option for patients to ensure equitable care.

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