Assessment of the Practices and Perspectives of Healthcare Providers Towards Utilization of Telemedicine for the Care of Adult Patients With Diabetes Mellitus During the COVID-19 Pandemic in India.

Assessment of the Practices and Perspectives of Healthcare Providers Towards Utilization of Telemedicine for the Care of Adult Patients With Diabetes Mellitus During the COVID-19 Pandemic in India.

Publication date: Feb 01, 2024

Background and purpose The lockdowns and restrictions enforced periodically during the COVID-19 pandemic posed a serious challenge for non-COVID care, especially in diabetes where telediabetes, the utilization of telemedicine consultations for diabetic care, became more necessary than ever before. Although studies have shed light on the perception of patients, there is a paucity of studies from the perspective of healthcare providers, especially in an Indian context. Moving forward, it is imperative to understand the perspectives of telediabetes providers in this domain. Hence, a nationwide survey was carried out to assess providers’ practices and perspectives towards using telemedicine for providing diabetes care in India during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Methods An online questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was carried out involving diabetes care physicians. The study tool was developed after the identification of broad themes and constructs from published literature, national guidelines, and diabetes experts’ recommendations, following which, it was validated by six experts and pilot-tested. An online open survey, hosted on a professional platform, was circulated to internists, endocrinologists, and other diabetes care physicians of various institutions, hospitals, and clinics from both public and private sectors across the country through individual and group emails and various mobile messenger services. Results Out of the 239 doctors who responded to the survey, 195 (81. 6%) had provided telediabetes services since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 84. 1% were actively providing teleconsultations for diabetes at the time of the survey. The majority of participants (63. 2%) were private practitioners. Telediabetes engagement was 3. 5 hours per day at the peak of the pandemic and reduced significantly to one hour after the end of the pandemic. Video calling was the most preferred modality for consultation, whereas messaging services were preferred for input from the patients. Printed prescription images followed by text messages were the common modalities for sending treatment advice. The overall perception towards telediabetes was positive (50. 1%). Most physicians reported being reasonably and somewhat aware (65. 6% and 20. 5%, respectively) of telemedicine practice guidelines but were not sure about the extent of compliance. Conclusions Our study sheds light not only on the utilization of telediabetes from physicians’ perspectives and practices but also on its acceptability while identifying areas requiring clarity and focus moving forward.

Concepts Keywords
Diabetes diabetes
Emails ehealth
Healthcare telecare
Lockdowns telediabetes
Pilot telehealth

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH Diabetes Mellitus
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease IDO country
disease VO time

Original Article

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