GI Patients Like Telehealth

GI Patients Like Telehealth

Douglas K. Rex, MD, MASGE, reviewing Dobrusin A, et al. Gastroenterology 2022 Sep 29.

This is a survey of 5134 patients who participated in a telehealth visit in 1 year across 105 practices in the Digestive Health Physicians Association. 

A single-question tool was used to ask patients how likely they would be to recommend a service to family or friends on a scale of 0 to 10. A rating of 9 or 10 signified “promoter,” 7 to 8 was “neutral,” and 0 to 6 was a “detractor.” The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors, with an NPS >0 indicative of a positive consumer experience.

The overall NPS was 21. Groups with the highest NPS were patients with irritable bowel syndrome (30), chronic diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease (both 28), chronic constipation (27), and medication-related or procedure-related appointments (both 26). The lowest scores were for hemorrhoids (NPS, 6) and abdominal pain or discomfort (NPS, 9). The score was higher when there were no technical difficulties with the telehealth connection (NPS, 26) versus technical difficulties (NPS, -15). Patients younger than age 60 years preferred telehealth (NPS, 39), compared with patients aged 60 years or older (NPS, 12). Similarly, employed patients (NPS, 35) were more likely than retired patients (NPS, 9) to prefer telehealth. When the video for the appointment worked, the score was better (NPS, 27) than without video (NPS, -7), but about 20% of patients relied on audio-only visits.

Douglas K. Rex, MD, FASGE


These data indicate that most GI patients appreciate telehealth, especially younger, employed patients. More work needs to be done to make telehealth programs easier for patients to use and to make the video connection reliable, but these data support the current ongoing need for reimbursement for audio-only visits. No question, the carbon footprint of virtual visits is much better than in person.

Note to readers: At the time we reviewed this paper, its publisher noted that it was not in final form and that subsequent changes might be made.


Dobrusin A, Hawa F, Montagano J, Walsh CX, Ellimoottil C, Gunaratnam NT. Patients with gastrointestinal conditions consider telehealth equivalent to in-person care. Gastroenterology 2022 Sep 29. (Epub ahead of print) (

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