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UPJ INSIGHT Patient Satisfaction Between Face-to-Face and Telehealth Modalities in Nephrolithiasis Counseling

By: Kayla Graham, MD, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina; Robert R. A. Wilson, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; Alex Ewing, PhD, Prisma Health Upstate, Greenville, South Carolina; Joseph Smith, MD, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey; Benjamin H. Dalkin, BA, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville; Brian C. Woods, BS, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville; Gregory M. Loftis, MS, OTR/L, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville; W. Patrick Springhart, MD, Prisma Health Upstate, Greenville, South Carolina | Posted on: 18 Mar 2024

Graham K, Wilson RRA, Ewing A, et al. Comparison of patient satisfaction between face-to-face and telehealth modalities in nephrolithiasis nutritional counseling. Urol Pract. 2024;11(2):271-275.

Study Need and Importance

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth, raising questions about patient satisfaction with this mode of care. Our study addresses this critical issue in patients receiving nutritional counseling for nephrolithiasis. With telehealth’s potential to overcome access barriers and enhance provider efficiency, understanding patient satisfaction is vital in shaping modern health care delivery.

What We Found

Ninety-six patients diagnosed with nephrolithiasis received in-person nutrition consultations between May 2019 and February 2021. Follow-up consultations were randomized to either in-person or telehealth via MDLive. Remarkably, over 90% of those in the telehealth group “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” with their satisfaction regarding service quality. More than 82% expressed their intent to use telehealth services again. Encouragingly, no significant difference in patient satisfaction was observed between telehealth and face-to-face visits. In the telehealth group, 67% reported improved access to health care services and time saved, while 89% reported independence in using the telehealth system without assistance.


We acknowledge certain limitations to our study. While it indicates high patient satisfaction with telehealth, it does not directly address specific conditions or demographics that might affect these findings. The study also lacks data on the digital literacy of patients, an essential factor in telehealth. Moreover, the absence of a physical examination in telehealth might influence certain medical conditions differently, and further research is required in this regard.

Interpretation for Patient Care

Our findings underscore the potential of telehealth in nutritional counseling for patients with nephrolithiasis. Telehealth has the promise to offer convenient, cost-effective, and high-quality care while preserving patient satisfaction. The post-COVID era may witness a sustained role for telehealth, but ongoing research is crucial to understanding its impact on various medical conditions and patient demographics. Importantly, telehealth can improve access to care and streamline provider efficiency, ultimately benefiting patient care.