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Ann R Coll Surg Engl ; 103(8): 561-568, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379819


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and the eventual national lockdown in the UK brought a halt to the face-to-face outpatient appointments at most NHS hospitals. Owing to this, clinicians have had to switch to other means of consultation, to maintain continuity of care. This survey was done to see how surgeons perceive telemedicine as part of their surgical consultations. METHODS: A questionnaire was piloted and re-designed following which an improved questionnaire was circulated among all users of telemedicine in surgical specialties through social media platforms. The results were analysed using smart survey software. RESULTS: Seventy per cent of the respondents had never used telemedicine before the COVID-19 pandemic. Three-quarters of the respondents found difficulty in assessing patients preoperatively. A significant proportion were worried about confidentiality and data security. The other concerns expressed were difficulty in building a rapport and the absence of a legal framework to support the surgeons in the transition. Despite some concerns, most of them were in favour of using telemedicine in the future with some improvements. CONCLUSION: As the pandemic prevented people from attending face-to-face appointments, remote consultations were stepped up to help overcome the difficulties. Screening services were suspended and treatment accumulated. Telemedicine will be a corner-stone service as healthcare systems attempt to tackle this backlog. The already existing software need to be further explored. Future studies must address the use of telemedicine in preoperative consultations. Regulatory bodies must ensure that there is adequate legal framework in place so that clinicians continue to embrace telemedicine.

Attitude of Health Personnel , Remote Consultation , Surgeons , COVID-19 , Computer Security , Confidentiality , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom