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1.
J Am Board Fam Med ; 35(3): 601-604, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875330

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has made innovative solutions to providing safe, effective care paramount. eConsult allows primary care providers to access specialist advice for their patients without necessitating an in-person visit. This study aims to explain how an eConsult service adapted to providing care for COVID-19 patients and examine its impact on patient care. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of cases submitted to COVID-19 specialties through the Ontario eConsult service between October 2020 and April 2021. Utilization data were extracted from all eligible cases to assess number of cases submitted, patterns of use, response times, and case outcomes (ie, whether eConsult resulted in new or additional information, whether or not a referral was needed). RESULTS: 2783 eConsults were submitted to 5 COVID-19 specialty groups during the study period. 71% of the cases were for vaccine-related questions. The median response interval was 12 hours. Providers received advice for a new or additional course of action in 36% of cases. 84% of the cases did not require a referral. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated the effectiveness of rapidly adapting eConsult for COVID-19 care and supports similar action for other services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care/methods
2.
Ann Fam Med ; 20(3): 220-226, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862229

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: COVID-19 has increased the need for innovative virtual care solutions. Electronic consultation (eConsult) services allow primary care practitioners to pose clinical questions to specialists using a secure remote application. We examined eConsult cases submitted to a COVID-19 specialist group in order to assess usage patterns, impact on response times and referrals, and the content of clinical questions being asked. METHODS: This was a mixed-methods analysis of eConsult cases submitted between March and September 2020 in Ontario, Canada to 2 services. We performed a descriptive analysis of the average response time and the total time spent by the specialist for eConsults. Primary care practitioners completed a post-eConsult questionnaire that asked about the outcome of the eConsult. We performed an inductive and deductive content analysis of a subset of cases to identify common themes among the clinical questions asked. RESULTS: A total of 208 primary care practitioners submitted 289 eConsult cases. The median specialist response time was 0.6 days (range = 3 minutes to 15 days); the average time spent by specialists per case was 16 minutes (range = 5 to 59 minutes). In 69 cases (24%), the eConsult enabled avoidance of a face-to-face referral. Content analysis of 51 cases identified 5 major themes: precautions for high-risk and special populations, diagnostic clarification and/or need for COVID-19 testing, guidance on self-isolation and return to work, guidance on personal protective equipment, and management of chronic symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the considerable potential of eConsults during a pandemic as our service was quickly implemented across Ontario and resulted in primary care practitioners' rapid and low-barrier access to specialist input.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Remote Consultation , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Ontario , Primary Health Care , Referral and Consultation
3.
Int Breastfeed J ; 17(1): 8, 2022 01 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633794

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Breastmilk hand expression (BMHE) is recommended to promote lactation, relieve breast engorgement, and collect milk for future infant feedings. Resources to teach this skill are limited and infrequently developed in partnership with the obstetrical population. In collaboration with maternity care experts and individuals with recent breastfeeding experience, we designed a one-page toolkit that describes the process of BMHE and includes step-by-step instructions and images to illustrate the technique. This study aimed to evaluate the readability, clarity of content, layout, and informational value of this BMHE toolkit. METHODS: Individuals who intended to breastfeed, were currently breastfeeding, or had recently breastfed were electronically surveyed and completed a two-part survey that consisted of radio, multi-select, Likert scale, and open-ended questions. Part one captured sociodemographic factors, obstetrical history, and breastfeeding practices. Part two collected feedback on the BMHE toolkit. Participants were recruited electronically through social media and posters were circulated in antenatal and postnatal care settings in Ottawa, Canada between November 2020 and February 2021. RESULTS: Of the 123 participants, 117 (95.1%) had heard of hand expression prior to reviewing the toolkit and 99 (80.5%) had hand expressed before. Among the 48 participants who were no longer exclusively breastfeeding at the time of the survey, 22 (45.8%) had exclusively breastfed their infant for at least six months and 7 (14.6%) had discontinued exclusive breastfeeding within the first month. When asked about the BMHE toolkit, 118 (95.9%) participants said it was informative, 115 (93.5%) said it was easy to understand, and 114 (92.7%) said it was well laid-out. When asked about information seeking behaviours, participants indicated a preference for online resources (58.5%) and video resources (22.0%). CONCLUSIONS: The BMHE toolkit was well received by participants and the feedback was favourable overall. The survey feedback will be used to create a revised version of the toolkit that has been validated by the obstetrical patient population. Future research should focus on identifying implementation strategies to optimize the use of the toolkit and increase its effectiveness as an educational resource to teach participants correctly BMHE.


Subject(s)
Breast Milk Expression , Maternal Health Services , Breast Feeding , Female , Humans , Infant , Lactation , Milk, Human , Pregnancy
4.
Telemed J E Health ; 28(7): 994-1000, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550523

ABSTRACT

Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced many clinicians to rapidly adopt changes in their practice. In this study, we compared patterns of utilization of Ontario eConsult before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to assess COVID 19's impact on how eConsult is used. Materials and Methods: We conducted a longitudinal analysis of registration and utilization data for Ontario eConsult. All primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists who joined the service between March 2019 and November 2020, and all eConsult cases closed during the same period were included. The data were divided into two timeframes for comparison: prepandemic (March 2019-February 2020) and pandemic (March 2020-November 2020). Results: In total, 5,925 PCPs joined during the study period, more than doubling total enrollment to 11,397. The average monthly number of eConsults increased from 2,405 (standard deviation [SD] = 260) prepandemic to 3,906 (SD = 420) pandemic. Case volume jumped to 24.3% in the first month of the pandemic, and increased by 71% during the COVID-19 pandemic timeframe. The median response time was similar in both timeframes (prepandemic: 1.0 days; pandemic: 0.9 days). The proportion of cases resulting in new/additional information (prepandemic: 55%, pandemic: 57%) or avoidance of a contemplated referral (prepandemic: 52%, pandemic: 51%) remained consistent between timeframes. Conclusions: Registration to and usage of eConsult increased during the pandemic. Metrics of the service's impact, including response time, percentage of cases resulting in new or additional information, and avoidance of originally contemplated referrals were all consistent between the prepandemic and COVID-19 pandemic timeframes, suggesting scalability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Remote Consultation , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care/methods , Referral and Consultation , Remote Consultation/methods
5.
J Cutan Med Surg ; 26(2): 135-142, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435194

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Division of Dermatology, University of Ottawa, adapted pre-existing local healthcare infrastructures to provide increased provider-to-provider teledermatology services as well as integrated teledermatology into the dermatology residency training program. OBJECTIVES: (1) To assess the differences in utilization of provider-to-provider teledermatology services before and during the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) to assess dermatology resident and faculty experiences with the integration of teledermatology into dermatology residency training at the University of Ottawa. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis comparing provider-to-provider teledermatology consults submitted to dermatologists from April 2019 to October 2019 pre-pandemic with the same period during the pandemic in 2020. Two different questionnaires were also disseminated to the dermatology residents and faculty at our institution inquiring about their perspectives on teledermatology, education, and practice. RESULTS: The number of dermatologists completing consults, the number of providers submitting a case to Dermatology, and the number of consults initiated all increased during the pandemic period. Ninety-one percent of residents agreed that eConsults and teledermatology enhanced their residency education, enabled continuation of training during the pandemic, and that eConsult-based training should be incorporated into the curriculum. Ninety-six percent of staff incorporated a virtual dermatology practice model, and one-third used teledermatology with residents during the pandemic. Most staff felt there was value in providing virtual visits in some capacity during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms that the use of teledermatology services continues to increase accessibility during the pandemic. Teledermatology enhances the education and training of residents and will be incorporated into dermatology residency programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dermatology , Internship and Residency , Skin Diseases , Telemedicine , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Dermatology/education , Humans , Pandemics , Skin Diseases/diagnosis , Skin Diseases/therapy
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