The COVID-19 pandemic is an unseen international emergency causing major challenges in medical care delivery. Patients with some chronic endocrine disorders (obesity, type 2 diabetes, probably also hypertension, corticosteroid excess) have higher rates of acute COVID-19 complications and death. Due to the changes in outpatient management there is a clear danger of inadequate clinical support for endocrinology patients. The decision for face-to-face or remote consultation should be based on patient assessment. In our study, we aimed to identify parameters that define the success of a telephone endocrinology consultation.
By telephone, we performed a prospective study of 100 authors consecutive patients of our institutions outpatient endocrinology clinic, scheduled for a regular visit. Thyroid and diabetic patients were not included. It was done during 2020 covid-19 pandemic from September to November. We defined a successful consultation as one leaving both a patient and a doctor with the overall feelings of success and satisfaction about its contents and way of interpersonal interaction (successful/unsuccessful). We collected data on patients sex (M/F), age (2040, 4060, 60 + years), education (primary, secondary, higher), first or follow-up consultation, clinicians general assessment of the level of disease control (insufficient, sufficient), duration of consultation (less than 5, 515, more than 15 minutes). For statistical analysis, we performed chi-squared test based on the categories above using SPSS. Values of P < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
In 76% of our patients, a telephone consultation was considered successful. 56 females were included. 44 patients were older than 60, 48 were 4060 years old. Sex, age, clinicians assessment of disease control and duration of consultation were not linked to the success of consultation (P > 0.05). Higher education and a previous face-to-face consultation were associated with success. 48 patients accomplished secondary and 22 higher education: χ2 (2) 6.93, p 0.041. 31 patients had first and 69 follow-up consultation scheduled: χ2 (1) 5.33, p 0.022.
In more than three quarters of our patients, a telephone consultation was assessed as successful by both a patient and a doctor during covid-19 pandemic. The success was associated with higher education level and previous face-to-face contact. Telephone consultations seem to be successful in most endocrinology patients while also being safe. In the future, the role of telephone consultations in outpatient setting should be better defined, especially in patients with higher risk of covid-19.
22 May 2021 - 26 May 2021