Objective: To examine the financial and organizational characteristics, demand for services, and satisfaction outcomes of a growing telemedicine program serving both urban or suburban and rural populations. Design: Retrospective review of 1,000 consecutive telemedicine consultations in the University of California (UC) Davis Telemedicine Program. Setting: Telemedicine videoconferencing units, used to integrate care in the UC Davis Health System among the UC Davis Medical Center and several urban or suburban primary care clinics, rural hospitals, and clinic affiliates. Subjects: A total of 657 consecutive patients who consented to a telemedicine consultation. Main outcome measures: Demographic information about the patient population, the rural and urban or suburban clinics, the types of specialty consultations, and telemedicine equipment used in the UC Davis Health System. Patient and physician satisfaction were measured on a 5-point Likert scale. Results: Patients and primary care physicians reported high levels of satisfaction. Rural clinics requested more and a greater variety of specialist consultations than urban or suburban clinics. Conclusion: Although referting physicians and patients indicate a high level of satisfaction with telemedicine services and insurers are negotiating reimbursement policies, additional research must investigate the reasons why some payers, patients, and providers resist participation in these services.
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