[E-consultation as a tool for the relationship between Primary Care and Endocrinology. Impact of COVID-19 epidemic in its use]

J Healthc Qual Res. 2021 Nov 5;S2603-6479(21)00104-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jhqr.2021.10.006. Online ahead of print.
[Article in Spanish]

Abstract

Introduction: Electronic consultation (eConsultation) can precede, complete, or replace visits to the specialist.

Objective: To describe the profile of eConsultations issued from Primary Care (PC) to the Endocrinology Unit since their implementation in our hospital, to assess the response time and to evaluate changes in trends in relation to the COVID19 pandemic. A secondary objective is to evaluate the degree of satisfaction of PC specialists with this tool.

Material and methods: An observational retrospective study of Endocrinology eConsultations conducted from June 2019 to October 2020 analysing 2periods: pre-COVID and post-COVID. The degree of satisfaction of the Family and Community Medicine specialists was assessed by means of a questionnaire.

Results: 391 eConsultations were answered (69 pre-COVID and 322 post-COVID). The response time was less than 24h in 85% of them. A total of 35.3% were resolved without the need for visits or additional tests. Thyroid pathology was the most consulted. The incidence was significantly higher in the post-COVID period. The proportion of high resolution was significantly higher in the pre-COVID period. There were no differences in the rest of the parameters analysed in both periods. Thirty-nine point 2percent of PC specialists answered the survey. The degree of satisfaction of PC specialists was high. A total of 92.7% considered that the tool met their expectations and 90.5% were satisfied or very satisfied with its use.

Conclusion: The COVID epidemic has driven the use of eConsultation in Endocrinology, which makes it possible to precede, complete or replace visits to the specialist, with a high degree of user satisfaction.

Keywords: COVID; Consulta electrónica; E-consulta; Electronic consultation; Endocrinology; Endocrinología; Telemedicina; Telemedicine; eConsultation.

Publication types

  • English Abstract