Defining practices suitable for care via teleconsultation in gynaecological and obstetrical care: a French Delphi survey

BMJ Open. 2024 May 7;14(5):e085621. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2024-085621.


Objective: Delineate the scope of teleconsultation services that can be effectively performed to provide women with comprehensive gynaecological and obstetrical care.

Design: Based on the literature and experts' insights, we identified a list of gynaecological and obstetrical care practices suitable for teleconsultation. A three-round Delphi consensus survey was then conducted online among a panel of French experts. Experts using a 9-point Likert scale assessed the relevance of each teleconsultation practice in four key domains: prevention, gynaecology and antenatal and postnatal care. Consensus was determined by applying a dual-criteria approach: the median score on a 9-point Likert scale and the percentage of votes either below 5 or 5 and higher.

Setting: The study was conducted at a national level in France and involved multiple healthcare centres and professionals from various geographical locations.

Participants: The panel comprised 22 French experts with 19 healthcare professionals, including 12 midwives, 3 obstetricians-gynaecologists, 4 general practitioners and 3 healthcare system users. Participants were selected to include diverse practice settings encompassing hospital and private practices in both rural and urban areas.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: The study's primary outcome was the identification of gynaecological and obstetrical care practices suitable for teleconsultation. Secondary outcomes included the level of professional consensus on these practices.

Results: In total, 71 practices were included in the Delphi survey. The practices approved for teleconsultation were distributed as follows: 92% in prevention (n=12/13), 55% in gynaecology (n=18/33), 31% in prenatal care (n=5/16) and 12% in postnatal care (n=1/9). Lastly, 10 practices remained under discussion: 7 in gynaecology, 2 in prenatal care and 1 in postnatal care.

Conclusions: Our consensus survey highlights both the advantages and limitations of teleconsultations for women's gynaecological and obstetrical care, emphasising the need for careful consideration and tailored implementation.

Keywords: gynaecology; obstetrics; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique*
  • Female
  • France
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics* / standards
  • Postnatal Care / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / standards
  • Remote Consultation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires