The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to generalize the use of telemedicine as a tool to maintain contact between citizens and the health care system. This study aims to analyze the profile of the citizens who use the eConsulta tool and the reasons for their use
Keywords: teleconsultation; primary care; remote consultation; telehealth; COVID-19; e-consultation
During the pandemic, the number of unique users of this teleconsultation service had almost tripled, with up to 33.10 visits per 1000 inhabitants per month reported in the first three months. For the two user profiles analyzed, most users since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak were predominantly female, systematically younger, more actively employed, and with less complex pathologies.
Furthermore, eConsulta users received more messages proactively from the health professionals. There was also a relative decrease in the number of conversations initiated by higher-income urban users and an increase in conversations initiated by users in rural areas.
Description of Study:
- Title: Characteristics of Citizens and Their Use of Teleconsultations in Primary Care in the Catalan Public Health System Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Retrospective Descriptive Cross-sectional Study.
- Principal Investigadors: Oscar Solans, Josep Vidal-Alaball, Pasqual Roig, Núria Mora, Ermengol Coma, Josep Maria Bonet Simó, Eduardo Hermosilla Pérez, Francesc Saigí-Rubió, Carmen Olmos Domínguez, Jordi Piera-Jiménez, Mercè Abizanda González and Francesc López Seguí.
- Centres of Implementation: Catalan Health Institute (ICS).
- Study Population: Data sourced from the Catalan Health Institute (ICS).
- Study Type: Retrospective Descriptive Cross-sectional Study.
- Methods: A descriptive, observational study based on administrative data was performed. This study differentiates between the COVID-19 pandemic era and the period preceding it, considering the day the state of emergency was declared in Spain (ie, March 12, 2020) as the cut-off point. It also differentiates between eConsulta users who send messages and those who only receive them.
Objectives of the Study:
Principal Objective: to analyze the profile of the citizens who use the eConsulta tool and the reasons for their use, as well as to gain an understanding of the elements that characterize their decision to use it while distinguishing between those who used it before and those who have used it since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More about this Study:
eConsulta—that is, asynchronous, two-way teleconsultation in primary care—is one of the most important telemedicine developments in the Catalan public health system, a service that has been heavily boosted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital to know the characteristics of its users in order to be able to meet their needs and understand the coverage of this service in a context where there is reduced accessibility to the health system.
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