The use of remote care during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: a perspective of Portuguese and Spanish physicians

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Authors Information

1Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS), School of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
2Department of Community Medicine, Information and Health Decision Sciences (MEDCIDS), School of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
3Allergy Unit, CUF Porto Hospital and Institute, Porto, Portugal
4Department of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences, Porto Health School, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Porto, Portugal
5Medicina, Educação, Investigação, Desenvolvimento e Avaliação (MEDIDA), Porto, Portugal


Published online: 23 December 2020
Accepted: 01 December 2020
Received: 02 November 2020


This study aimed to characterise how the follow-up of outpatients was done during the first months of COVID-19 pandemic by a multidisciplinary group of physicians involved in an asthma mHealth project. A cross-sectional study based on a web survey was conducted. The survey was sent to 123 physicians working at secondary care centres of Portugal and Spain, that participate in the INSPIRERS project. A total of 65 physicians completed the survey (53% response rate). They had a mean of 18 (11) years of clinical practice and 14% were residents. More than half were allergists (58%), 22% pulmonologists and 20% paediatricians. Most were working in Portugal (89%) and in public hospitals (88%). All were conducting consultations: 71% presential (median [p25 , p75] duration 30 [20, 30] min), 91% telephonic (15 [10, 20] min) and 20% video consultations (20 [10, 28] min). The median duration of presential consultations was significantly higher than pre-COVID-19 (20 [20, 30] min; p = 0.021). From the physicians conducting video consultations, 92% were allergists and only 54% considered that their institution provided adequate conditions. The physicians of the INSPIRERS group used telephonic consultations as the main alternative to presential ones and 1/5 used video consultations. These results suggest the need to rethink clinical follow-up services for outpatients in the near future increasing the use of telemedicine, especially video consultations.

Telehealth; telemedicine; teleconsultation; COVID-19; chronic diseases; outpatient follow-up.

Table of Content: Vol. 54 (No. 1) 2022 January

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