Role of Telemedicine in Management of Surgical Patients During COVID-19 Lockdown: A Solution to Reduce Footprints in Surgical Outpatient Clinics
Keywords:Telemedicine, COVID-19 lockdown, follow up status, Severity of disease
AbstractObjective: To see role of telemedicine in management of surgical patients during COVID-19 lockdown and to see patient satisfaction levels with this treatment modality. Methods: This descriptive study conducted at Department of Telemedicine, King Edward Medical University Lahore during COVID-19 lockdown in months of March and April 2020 (2 months). All those who approached for their general surgical complaints included in this study excluding patients of other medical issues and patient age less than 12 year. Patient's variables include age, gender, severity of compliant, symptoms of patient, follow up status, treatment provided and satisfaction levels etc. The statistical research performed with the SPSS Version 20 software. Mean values and frequency were analyzed and comparison of categorical variables performed by chi-squared methodology or, where necessary, the exact Fisher test. The cut off for significance placed at p-value ≤ 0.05. Results: We studied 156 (n=156) and there were 109 (69.9%) males and 47 (30.1%) females with mean age at presentation 41.52 ± 16.40 S.D. years (Range 12 to 70 years). Total 61.5% (n=96) patients presented from city of Lahore while 38.5% (n=60) presented from outside city. Regarding severity of disease, there were 29.5% (n=46) mild, 57.7% (n=90) moderate and 12.8% (n=20) severe cases. New cases were 90.4% (n=141) and follow up cases were 9.6% (n=15). Patient satisfaction was 97.4% (n=152) and 2.6% (n=4) were not satisfied. Those patients who presented with minor or moderate severity of complaints were more satisfied rather than those who presented with severe symptoms (p<0.001). Conclusion: During COVID-19 Lockdown situation, when patients have restricted access to surgical consultation than before, alternative methods of patient consultation need to be provided. Our study showed that telemedicine is good for mild to moderate patient symptoms but not for serious problems.
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