Document Type : Original Article
Telemedicine research center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti university of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Chonic Respiratory Diseases Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti university of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Mycobacteriology Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: Telemedicine is considered an innovative approach for management and follow up of communicable diseases, when person to person contact has the risk of disease dissemination, such as the situation being experienced with corona virus infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of telemedicine in patient follow-up and patient compliance in different communication methods.
Materials and Methods: All patients discharged from a referral pulmonary hospital dedicated to coronavirus infected patients were given instructions on follow-up of symptoms. One group received messages via short message system regarding the severity of their symptoms. For the other group a mobile application was specially designed for tracking their well-being on a daily basis. Severity of symptoms and course of disease were monitored in each group for a two-month period.
Results: A total 1091 patients with mean age of 53.96± 17.95 years were enrolled in the study. In the first group 406 (60.14%) messages were successfully sent, from which 150 (36.94%) patients replied. Also, 243(35%) patients contacted us by making phone calls. Of the total patients in the second group, 153(64%) patients started using the mobile application. Chief complaint of patients was mainly cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and myalgia. Deep vein thrombosis, hyperglycemia, post kidney transplant patient and bloody diarrhea were among the reported cases.
Conclusion: Patient follow-up during epidemics, especially when the disease course is unknown, is an important step in both successful patient management and disease control. This study showed the role of telemedicine for patient follow-up, mostly in detecting special situations. But, in order to be successful patient education and active follow-up are important factors that must be considered.