(HealthDay News) — About half of trainee cardiologists report being comfortable with use of telemedicine, and most express the need for telemedicine-specific training, according to a study published online in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Aws Almufleh, MBBS, MPH, from Vancouver General Hospital in Canada, and colleagues used a web-based self-administered survey to examine the extent of cardiology trainees’ involvement in and comfort with telemedicine practices in Canada. The survey was completed by 86 trainees from 12 training programs.

The researchers found that 45 and 78% of trainees had telemedicine exposure before and after COVID-19, respectively. Overall, 51% of trainees reported being comfortable or very comfortable with telemedicine use. Of the 67 trainees who were involved in telemedicine, 6, 19, and 75% had full supervision, partial supervision, and minimal or no supervision, respectively, during virtual visits. Overall, 78 and 74% of trainees expressed the need for telemedicine-specific training and were willing to have their virtual visit recorded for evaluation and feedback, respectively. More than half (55%) felt strongly or very strongly positive about incorporating telemedicine into their future practice. Concerns about patient engagement, fear of weakening the patient-physician relationship, and unfamiliarity with telemedicine technology were the main perceived barriers to telemedicine use.

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“The findings that 1 in 2 trainees is comfortable with telemedicine and 1 in 4 do not plan to provide telemedicine services in the future are therefore concerning,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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