Telemedicine – The Experience of a Pediatric Department during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Main Article Content

Susana Dias
Luzia Condessa
Maria Limbert
Helena Pedroso
Manuel Cunha

Abstract

Introduction: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, multiple measures were taken to decelerate the disease progression. This article describes the experience with telemedicine in a pediatric ambulatory clinic during the outbreak and reports the perception of the department's clinicians on telemedicine experience.
Methodology: This study was conducted in a pediatric ambulatory clinic in a level II hospital. A retrospective analysis was conducted, comparing the pediatric face-to-face and telemedicine appointments in two equivalent periods of 2019 and 2020: March to June and July to December. In order to evaluate the clinicians’ perception on telemedicine, a questionnaire was applied.
Results: In the first period analysed (March to June), the number of pediatric appointments decreased in 2020. However, an eight- fold increase was observed in telemedicine appointments. In the second period (July to December), there was an increase in the total number of appointments in 2020, 60% of which were done by telemedicine. All the respondent practitioners considered telemedicine valuable during COVID-19 pandemic. The most important benefit found by the pediatricians was the minimization of infection risk (48.5%), and 63.6% of them considered the impossibility to do physical examination the most significant disadvantage. Overall, most clinicians (81.2%) want to keep using telemedicine in a future without pandemic.
Discussion and Conclusion: The number of pediatric telemedicine appointments increased significantly in 2020. This could be explained by the department’s restructuration due to COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the “post-emergency” appointments, and the reduced absenteeism. Although face-to-face appointment's irreplaceable value, the beneficial effect of telemedicine during pandemic period was evident and consensual in clinician’s perception.

Article Details

How to Cite
1.
Dias S, Condessa L, Limbert M, Pedroso H, Cunha M. Telemedicine – The Experience of a Pediatric Department during the COVID-19 Pandemic . LSJ [Internet]. 2021Mar.31 [cited 2021Aug.5];2(1):18-22. Available from: http://lusiadasscientificjournal.pt/index.php/lsj/article/view/44
Section
Original Investigation
Author Biography

Susana Dias, Serviço de Pediatria, Departamento da Criança, Hospital de Cascais, Lisboa, Portugal.

Susana Dias [ssdias2@gmail.com]
Serviço de Pediatria, Departamento da Criança, Hospital de Cascais, 2755-009 Lisboa, Portugal