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ISRN Neurol. 2012;2012:135329. doi: 10.5402/2012/135329. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Sleep telemedicine: a survey study of patient preferences.

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  • 1Neurology Department, Massachusetts General Hospital, Wang 720, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Telemedicine is an increasingly recognized option for cost-effective management of chronic conditions. We surveyed Sleep Clinic patients about their experiences and preferences regarding different forms of telemedicine. Adult Sleep Clinic patients seen between 2009 and 2011 received a brief survey either by postal mail (n = 156) or, for those with an available email address, electronically (n = 282). The overall response rate was 28.1% (n = 123 responses), with email response rates being higher than postal mail responses. The most commonly reported barriers to in-person physician visits were parking cost (44%), time away from work/school (34%), and cost of gas (26%). Whereas 89% of respondents indicated using telephone and 55% of respondents indicated using email to communicate with providers, none reported experience with video telemedicine. Despite this lack of experience, over 60% reported feeling comfortable or willing to try it. Of those who were uncomfortable about video telemedicine, the two main reasons were that in-person visits feel more natural (48%) and that the doctor might need to perform an examination (24%). More than half of respondents reported willingness to pay a copay for a video visit. Video telemedicine represents a feasible option for chronic sleep disorders management.

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