Title

The changing trend of teleconsultations during COVID-19 era at a tertiary facility in Tanzania

Document Type

Article

Department

Internal Medicine (East Africa); Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa); General Surgery (East Africa)

Abstract

Introduction: the current COVID-19 pandemic has occasioned the increased adoption of telemedicine. This study reports the uptake and trend of a new teleconsultation service in a Tanzanian hospital.

Methods: this is a retrospective observational study that profiled requests for teleconsultations and uptake of the service between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020.

Results: two hundred and eighteen telephone inquiries were received over the 3 months. One hundred and sixteen (53.2%) individuals followed through with the teleconsultations. Paediatric (38.8%) and Internal medicine (32.8%) were the subspecialties with the highest number of teleconsultations. In a frame of 3 months, teleconsultation uptake was highest in May and lowest in June.

Conclusion: there was a steady rise and a rapid fall in requests and uptake of teleconsultation services over the period under evaluation. Lack of insurance coverage for teleconsultations was a significant barrier. We propose a re-education and reiteration of the benefits of telemedicine to all stakeholders. This is important for the current era and beyond.

Publication

Pan African Medical Journal

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