Background: The usefulness of telemedicine in the management of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has not been evaluated. Methods: We conducted a descriptive study of the process of recruitment and follow-up of patients using a telemedicine tool (TELEA) in the management of patients at risk, in a rural environment with a dispersed population in Lugo in north western Spain. Results: A large number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 infection (N = 545) were evaluated. Of this group, 275 had comorbidities and were enrolled in the program, with a mean age of 57.6 ± 16.3 years, 43.1% male. The risk factors were hypertension (38%), diabetes (16%), asthma (9.5%), heart disease (8.8%), and immunosuppression (5.1%). Patients were followed through the platform with daily control of symptoms and vital signs. Only 8% were admitted to the hospital, 5.1% on a scheduled basis and 2.9% through the emergency room. Conclusion: The telemedicine tool TELEA is useful for the management of high-risk patients with COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; disaster medicine; pandemic; telemedicine; telenursing.