Tele-Otolaryngology at a Tertiary Care Center in North India During COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: A Validated Patient Feedback Questionnaire Based Study

Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Jun 4:1-14. doi: 10.1007/s12070-021-02666-x. Online ahead of print.


Providing medical care using the telecommunication networks holds the promise of increased access and efficiency of healthcare particularly during global emergencies like the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Most of the hospital setups worldwide have put telemedicine into practice ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of Tele-otolaryngology (TO) at a tertiary care centre during the pandemic lockdown. A validated patient feedback questionnaire was developed and distributed to 2577 patients who utilised the TO mobile health service at our institute. Patient feedback-based assessment of TO effectiveness during COVID-19 lockdown was carried out. The validated questionnaire in English and Hindi was statistically robust with Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.808 and 0.886 respectively. 1751 patients completed their feedback to the questionnaire. 97.5% utilised WhatsApp for TO consultation. 15.2% patients were detected of Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection with TO guidance. Up to 75% patients had a positive response to the questionnaire and 91.1% opined of savings achieved either with travel time, cost incurred or the treatment time. With respect to patient health status, 71.5% recovered, 20.1% had no change and 8.4% deteriorated with a mortality rate of 1.65%. Telehealth in otolaryngology during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was indispensable in managing exigencies. Redesigning of clinical protocol and technical constraints, clinician training and a validated patient feedback questionnaire would effectively bestow upon the global emergencies.

PMID:34104634 | PMC:PMC8175936 | DOI:10.1007/s12070-021-02666-x