Attitudes of the Public to Receiving Medical Care during Emergencies through Remote Physician-Patient Communications

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 20;17(14):5236. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17145236.


Providing health services through remote communications for sub-acute health issues during emergencies may help reduce the burden of the health care system and increase availability of care. This study aimed to investigate the attitudes of the public towards receiving medical services and providing medical information through remote communication in times of emergencies. During the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic outbreak, 507 participants answered a structured online survey, rating their mean willingness to receive medical care and provide medical information, on a four-point Likert scale. Furthermore, demographic characteristics, social media use, and trust in data protection was collected. The mean willingness to receive medical services was 3.1 ± 0.6 and the mean willingness to provide medical information was 3.0 ± 0.7, with a strong significant correlation between the two (r = 0.76). The multiple regression model identified higher trust in data protection, level of education, and social media use as statistically significant predictors for a higher willingness to receive medical information while the first two predicted willingness to provide information. The findings suggest an overall positive attitude to receive medical care through remote communications.

Keywords: emergency management; patient willingness; remote communications.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Communication*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Emergencies*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust