Tele-Rheumatology During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Reumatol Clin. 2020 Oct 29:S1699-258X(20)30240-0. doi: 10.1016/j.reuma.2020.10.004. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: During the COVID-19 pandemic strategies to prevent transmission of the viral infection obliged our hospital to promote virtual consultations.

OBJETIVE: The objective of this study is to describe the results obtained with the previous strategy of transferring activity to teleconsultation during the period of maximum impact of the pandemic.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between 16/03 and 10/05/2020 all successive consultations in our unit were performed in virtual rheumatology teleconference (RTC) format. The socio-demographic, geo-functional and clinical characteristics of all patients were collected; a numeric verbal scale (NVS) (where 0=very dissatisfied to 10=fully satisfied) was applied to assess the degree of satisfaction of the doctor/patient with the RTC.

RESULTS: 469 TC were included. Most patients seen by RTC were women, mean age: 60,83 years. Only 16% had university education. The mean distance travelled for face-to face consultation is 33 Km with a mean total time of 2hours. Most individuals were diagnosed with osteoarthritis/soft tissue rheumatic diseases and/or osteoporosis; 21% had rheumatoid arthritis. The mean length of the TC was 9.64minutes. We find more patient satisfaction with the TC when their level of education is higher (OR=4.12); doctor satisfaction was higher when the individual was better able to manage the Internet (OR=3.01).

CONCLUSION: It is possible to transfer rheumatological care activity to TC with a considerable degree of satisfaction for both the patient and the doctor.

PMID:33214110 | DOI:10.1016/j.reuma.2020.10.004