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This study explored whether telemedicine was an equitable alternative for patient and provider interactions during the COVID-19 epidemic. A total of 339 patients were surveyed and classified as telemedicine-eligible if their primary reason for consultation could be solved completely by telemedicine. Risk factors for a severe course of COVID-19 were common (94.5%) in urology patients. When asked, 85% of patients wished for a telemedicine rather than a face-to-face consultation. Those favoring telemedicine were younger, and no difference was seen in benign versus malignant diagnostic groups. There was a positive association between patients with a higher-risk profile and eligibility for telemedicine. Overall, 54.1% of patients were both eligible and willing to be scheduled for telemedicine appointments.
Based on these data, urological patients are good candidates for telemedicine visits. This appears to be a solution to offer contact-free continuity of care.
– Gautam Jayram, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed considerable strain on hospital resources. We explored whether telemedicine (defined as a videoconference) might help. We undertook prospective structured phone interviews of urological patients (n = 399). We evaluated their suitability for telemedicine (judged by a panel of four physicians) and their risks from COVID-19 (10 factors for a poor outcome), and collected willingness for telemedicine and demographic data. Risk factors for an adverse outcome from COVID-19 infection were common (94.5% had one or more) and most patients (63.2%) were judged suitable for telemedicine. When asked, 84.7% of patients wished for a telemedical rather than a face-to-face consultation. Those favouring telemedicine were younger (68 [58-75] vs 76 [70-79.2] yr, p < 0.001). There was no difference in preference with oncological (mean 86%) or benign diagnoses (mean 85%), or with COVID-19 risks factors. In subgroup analysis, men with prostate cancer preferred telemedicine (odds ratio: 2.93 [1.07-8.03], p = 0.037). We concluded that many urological patients have risk factors for a poor outcome from COVID-19 and most preferred telemedicine consultations at this time. This appears to be a solution to offer contact-free continuity of care. PATIENT SUMMARY: Risk factors for a severe course of coronavirus disease 2019 are common (94.5%) in urology patients. Most patients wished for a telemedical consultation (84.7%). This appears to be a solution to offer contact-free continuity of care.