Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 72667
Teleconsultations and The Need of Onsite Additional Medical Services

Authors: Cristina Hotoleanu

Abstract:

Introduction: The recent Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the development of e-health, including telemedicine, smartphone applications, and medical wearable devices. Providing remote teleconsultations supposes challenges which may require further face-to-face medical interactions. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between the types of teleconsultations and the need of onsite medical services (investigations and medical visits) for the diagnosis and treatment. Methods: a retrospective study including all the teleconsultations using the platform offered by a telehealth provider in Romania (Telios Care SA) between May 1, 2021- April 30, 2022, was performed. Binary data were analysed using the chi-square test with a significance level of p < 0.05. Results: out of 7163 consultations, 3961 were phone calls, 1981 were online messages, and 1221 were video calls. Onsite medical services were indicated in 3327 (46.44%) cases; the onsite investigations or the onsite visits were recommended for 2908 patients as follows: 2326 in case of phone calls, 582 in case of online messages, none in case of video calls. Both onsite investigations and visits were indicated for 419 patients. The need for onsite additional medical services was significantly higher in the case of phone calls than in the other 2 types of teleconsultations (Chi square= 1207.06, p= 0.00001). The indication for onsite services was done mainly after teleconsultations covering medical specialties (87.34%), significantly higher than the other specialties (Chi square=914.59, p=0.00001). Teleconsultations in surgical specialties and other fields (pharmacy, dentistry, psychology, wellbeing- nutrition, fitness) resulted in 12.13%, respective less than 1%, indication for onsite investigations or visits, explained by using of video calls in most of the cases. Conclusion: a further onsite medical service was necessary in less than a half of the teleconsultations. This indication was done mainly after phone calls and teleconsultations in medical specialties. Video calls were used mostly in psychology, nutrition, and fitness teleconsultations and did not require a further onsite medical service. Other studies are necessary to assess better the types of teleconsultations and the specialties bringing the biggest benefit for the patients.

Keywords: onsite medical services, phone calls, teleconsultations, telemedicine

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