COVID-19 Lockdown Period: Perception of Doctors regarding Telemedicine Use for General Practice FC09-FC12
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, ACS Medical College and
Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Introduction: During this COVID-19 lockdown period, telemedicine is widely being used by doctors for continuing clinical care of patients so that physical distancing can be maintained and the risk of contracting the virus can be avoided.
Aim: To assess perception of doctors regarding quality of healthcare by telemedicine as compared to traditional face to face consultation and, to assess the opinion of doctors on whether telemedicine could be an option for future practice after lockdown period.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire based cross-sectional study was conducted in which perception of doctors regarding their telemedicine usage for general practice during this lockdown period has been evaluated. The study was done during April to June 2020 among doctors working in a medical college attached to a tertiary care hospital in Chennai and using telemedicine for their practice during COVID-19 lockdown period. After collection of responses, data obtained were entered in excel sheet and analysed using SPSS version 23.0. Chi-square test was used to assess the association between different variables associated with perception regarding telemedicine usage for general practice. A p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: Easy access to healthcare services can be done with telemedicine practice according to 73.7% of doctors. Nearly 60.6% of doctors like to continue telemedicine for their practice even after COVID lockdown period.
Conclusion: Telemedicine has helped doctors for continuing patient care during COVID-19 pandemic, but the quality of care delivered by telemedicine consultation was not good as compared to the quality of traditional healthcare. Telemedicine could be an option for future practice of doctors if awareness regarding proper usage of telemedicine is created among patients and if guidelines regarding legal concerns in telemedicine are properly framed.