Background and Aims:
To assess the user perceptions on efficiency and effectiveness of Tele-clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An audit collected feedback based on questionnaires from surgeons, patients and nurses, conducting/attending tele-clinics after 4 weeks of their initiation in the first surge of COVID-19 in the UK.
In this audit, 15 clinicians and 12 patients were opportunistically interviewed. 46% of the clinicians and 83% of the patients agreed that telephonic consultation was convenient, flexible and time-efficient. Two-thirds of clinicians felt that it required less staffing and therefore was cost-effective. Majority of patients (80%) agreed that tele-clinics were efficient, were associated with less stress/ anxiety. Most (86%) surgeons agreed that tele-clinics were limited by the lack of access to a detailed physical examination. Almost half the responses from clinicians, were positive regarding the effectiveness in reaching a diagnosis/ planning management, with a recognition of the potential risk for under or over-investigation. Most (91.6%) patients were satisfied with the way their clinical consultation was addressed. Some patients would still prefer to meet their doctor face-to-face to discuss a final management plan.
Our audit provides evidence that Tele-clinics offered an efficient, potentially environmental conscious, cost-effective alternative to physical outpatient clinics, both to clinicians and patients, with recognised limitations.
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