NSW virtual care given tick of approval

Patients are satisfied with virtual outpatient care in NSW, but still prefer in-person treatment.
Patients are satisfied with virtual outpatient care in NSW, but still prefer in-person treatment.

Virtual outpatient care in NSW public hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic has received the tick of approval, with more than 90 per cent of people happy with their experience.

However, almost one in three people said they still prefer in-person appointments, regardless of the quality of virtual outpatient care.

The Bureau of Health Information on Wednesday said that of more than 2500 survey respondents, 91 per cent said their experience of virtual care outpatient appointments in the NSW public hospital system was good or very good.

More than seven in 10 respondents said they liked the convenience of virtual care, while 60 per cent said it saved time and 30 per cent said it saved money.

More than a third also said they felt more at ease in their home environment, and the overwhelming majority of respondents said they had no problems with outpatient care technology.

"Due to COVID-19 restrictions, patients may not have had the option to choose between in-person and virtual appointments," BHI chief executive Diane Watson said in a statement on Wednesday.

But while most respondents said they would agree to undergo virtual care again, more than 30 per cent said they continued to prefer in-person appointments, particularly younger patients.

Elsewhere, more than nine in 10 patients said healthcare professionals in NSW were always kind and caring and always treated them with respect throughout the outpatient process.

More than four fifths also said the medical professionals listened carefully to their concerns and explained medical concepts in an understandable way.

Australian Associated Press