The attitude of Polish rheumatology patients towards telemedicine in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic
Department of Rheumatology, Medical University of Łódź, Poland
Data nadesłania: 30-03-2020
Data ostatniej rewizji: 22-04-2020
Data akceptacji: 02-06-2020
Data publikacji online: 29-06-2020
Data publikacji: 29-06-2020
Reumatologia 2020;58(3):134-141
n response to the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, the Polish government has enabled specialist teleconsultations. Due to this, Polish patients have gained access to continuation of outpatient specialist healthcare using information and communication technologies. The goal of the study was to recognize the needs and expectations as well as the main concerns of Polish rheumatology patients in regard to teleconsultations.

Material and methods:
An online-based questionnaire comprising 17 single choice and multiple choice, open-end questions was collected among Polish rheumatology patients directly after the introduction of specialist teleconsultations.

244 respondents completed the survey. Mean age of the respondents was 40.6 ±10.5 and 92.6% of them were female. 48% of the respondents lived not further than 20 kilometres from their outpatient rheumatology clinic. The mean severity of current symptoms, assessed by patients on a visual-analogue scale, was 4.9 ±2.4. 82% of the respondents selected telephone consultations as the most convenient form of receiving rheumatology advice. The patients highlighted the lack of physical examination (43%) and additional tests (43.9%) as the factors discouraging them from teleconsultations; 8.2% of respondents were against maintaining rheumatology teleconsultations after the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; 3.7% of the respondents received information on teleconsultations from a medical professional.

The community of Polish rheumatology patients is eager to benefit from specialist teleconsultations. Telephone consultations are the most eagerly chosen form of remote consultations. Medical professionals should actively promote this form of patient in order to reach the patients who do not use the computer readily.

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