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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 344--351

Turning a New Chapter in Neurosurgery Outpatient Services: Telemedicine A “Savior” in this Pandemic


1 Department of Neurosurgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India, India
3 Department of Cardiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
4 Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Vivek Tandon
Department of Neurosurgery, Room No 608, CNC, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.314523

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Background: Teleconsultation services in India, especially in neurosurgery, are relatively new. Despite its large-scale adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic, comprehensive analyses of patients' perspectives and hurdles are lacking. Materials and Methods: We conducted an anonymized telephonic survey of consecutive neurosurgical patients who availed telemedicine services at our institute, using a validated, structured questionnaire. To prevent bias, interviewers were not involved in the study design/analyses. Patients' perception of usefulness and performance of teleconsultation was graded on a 5-point Likert scale. Results: Of the 330 patients who availed teleconsultation services, 231 (70%) completed the survey. Even though 91% of the respondents had access to a smartphone, only 10% received a video-based teleconsult. As per respondents, the challenges included poor network (7%), suboptimal communication/discussion (5.6%), lack of physical examination (6%), and misinterpretation of prescription by pharmacists/patients (6%). The majority of the respondents (58%) either agreed/strongly agreed that teleconsultation helped them tide over the medical exigency during the lockdown; however, the clinical diagnosis did not influence this response (P = 0.21). The vast majority of the respondents felt that teleconsultation is beneficial (97%), as it minimizes their exposure to COVID-19. One-third of the patients preferred this service over physical visits and 60% agreed to its continuation till resumption of routine care. Access to video-teleconsultation was the chief suggestion in 39 of 74 suggestions received. Conclusions: Telemedicine in neurosurgery offers favorable patient satisfaction during this pandemic and may be a satisfactory alternative to physical outpatient services in the future. Video-based teleconsults should be the preferred modality of communication for neurosurgery patients.






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