2020 № 2 Telemedicine and COVID-19: quality of patient-initiated teleconsultations in case of acute respiratory disease
There is a global increase in demand for direct-to-patient telemedicine consultations due to COVID-19 pandemic. We made a quality assessment of the patient-initiated consultations in case of acute respiratory viral infection symptoms (COVID-19). There are 20 teleconsultations of 2 simulated patients in 10 the most popular telehealth services. An incomplete history of the disease was recorded in 50.0% of cases, incomplete allergy anamnesis – in 60.0%, and epidemiology anamnesis – in 35.0%. Information on chronic illnesses (critical for COVID-19 suspected situations) is fully collected only in 50.0% of cases. Due to defects in the history taking the target diagnostic concept was achieved in 30.0% of teleconsultations, target actions were recommended in only 35.0%. Telemedicine services did not provide continuity of medical care. In 60.0% of cases, medications were prescribed, including injectable antibacterial agents, which completely contradicts not only the legislation, but also the accepted international methods and practices of distance counseling. The quality of the direct-to-patient telemedicine services remains unsatisfactory. There is no effective quality control and quality assurance systems.