Telemedicine as a good tool for monitoring Acromegalic outpatients during COVID-19 pandemic
IN. Rosaa (Ms), L. Naves*b (Prof)
a Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, BRAZIL ; b University of Brasilia, Brasilia, BRAZIL
Background: Telemedicine is a resource to provide health care to patients in social distancing and prevent their exposure to the risk of contamination by SARSCoV-2 in medical-hospital settings. This study evaluated a virtual model of care in acromegalic patients. Methods: We have included 78 acromegalic patients, 65% female, median age 63 years old. Outpatient management was remodeled to simplify access to care by (1) adoption of virtual meetings; (2) collection of blood sampling at home; (3) abolishment of printed prescription and provision of electronic files directly to central pharmacy; (4) drugs delivered at patients’ home. Patients and physicians filled electronic surveys after 48 hours from each consultation. Results: The patients expressed satisfaction with convenience (91.1%), decreased wait time (85.1%), and saving money (79.2%) comparing to face-to-face visits. Most patients felt supported by the medical team (89.1%) and kept the prescriptions updated (84.8%). The physicians reported resolutive appointments in 92.2% of cases, despite longer time to achieve the patients and subsequent calls to complement missing information. Satisfaction and patient-provider relationship were maintained during the study, but the choice for a next virtual appointment fell from 78.7% to 34.8% after six months. COVID-19 was confirmed in 13% of patients, mostly mild and moderate manifestations. Conclusion: Telemedicine is a tool for medical care in underserved populations, feasible even in low-incoming countries. This study suggests that it is difficult to sustain exclusive remote care for more than six months. The method could be adopted interchangeably with in-person consultations in acromegalic patients with stable disease.
The author has declared no conflict of interest.