A prospective, multisite study analyzing the percentage of urological cases that can be completely managed by telemedicine
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of telemedicine due to confinement measures. However, the percentage of outpatient urological cases that could be managed completely by telemedicine outside of the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be determined. We conducted a prospective, multisite study involving all urologists working in the region of Quebec City.
Methods: During the first four weeks of the regional confinement, 18 pediatric and adult urologists were asked to determine, after each telemedicine appointment, if it translated into a complete (CCM), incomplete (ICM), or suboptimal case management (SCM, adequate only in the context of the pandemic).
Results: A total of 1679 appointments representing all urological areas were registered. Overall, 67.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 65.3; 69.8), 27.1% (25.0; 29.3), and 4.3% (3.5; 5.4) were reported as CCM, SCM, and ICM, respectively. The CCM ratio varied according to the reason for consultation, with cancer suspicion (52.9% [42.9; 62.8]) and pediatric reasons (38.0% [30.0; 46.6]) showing the lowest CCM percentages. CCM percentages also varied significantly based on the setting where it was performed, ranging from 61.1% (private clinic) to 86.8% (endourology and general hospital).
Conclusions: We show that two-thirds of all urological outpatient cases could be completely managed by telemedicine outside of the pandemic. After the pandemic, it will be important to incorporate telemedicine as an alternative for a patient’s first or followup visit, especially those with geographical, pathological, and socioeconomic considerations.
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