Patients Perceptions on Teledermatology Through Video-consulting During the Covid19-pandemic: Report on a Belgian Cohort
Objectives: In light of the Covid19-pandemic the Belgian government announced a quarantine period. Following the imposed guidelines, UZ Leuven responded swiftly by canceling all non-urgent ambulant consultations for a period of three weeks. Later, this was prolonged to a period of three months. This setting urged implementation of telemedicine. In this pilot study, we invited patients followed in our department for inflammatory skin diseases (psoriasis and atopic dermatitis) to substitute their cancelled appointment by a video-consult. Preparation of the consultation as well as the video-consultation itself were assessed by the patient through an online questionnaire.
Material and methods: A live-interaction teledermatology service was offered by email to patients in follow-up for inflammatory skin diseases who had an appointment scheduled that was cancelled because of the Covid19-pandemic. Patients who accepted the invitation received instructions on how to prepare for the video-consultation. After the video-consultation they received a link to an anonymous online questionnaire.
Results: In total, 100 patients received an invitation by email to replace the cancelled appointment by a video-consultation. 42 patients agreed to participate in video-consultation. The questionnaire was completed by 30 patients. Overall, patients did not report technical difficulties before or during the video-consultation. Satisfaction with the video-consult was high. Most of the participants were inclined to accept another invitation in the future.
Conclusion: The Covid19 pandemic prompted rapid implementation of video-consultation in the UZ Leuven dermatology department. It was assessed as an acceptable replacement given the circumstances. Most patients estimated the visual support an added value and were open to repeat video-consulting in the future.
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