Patients’ preferences – evaluation of teleconsultations during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Student Scientific Circle of Medical Communication, Medical University, Gdańsk, Poland
Department of Sociology of Medicine and Social Pathology, Medical University, Gdańsk, Poland
Krzysztof Sobczak   

Department of Sociology of Medicine and Social Pathology, Medical University, Gdańsk, Poland
Introduction and objective:
The COVID-19 pandemic caused necessary changes to the health care system in terms of the organization and treatment of patients. Remote forms of medical consultations were widely introduced to minimize the risk of viral transmission. The aim of the study was to assess patients’ opinions about teleconsultations during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding the doctor-patient relationship and communication.

Material and methods:
The study was conducted using a quantitative method with the CAWI technique, involving 1,011 adult patients consulted by their family physicians. Pearson’s chi-squared test was used to calculate statistical correlations for p < 0.05.

Overall, 46.4% of the respondents favourably evaluated the quality of communication during teleconsultations, while 28.2% of patients expressed negative opinions. A positive assessment of the quality of teleconsultation correlated with male gender, higher education, and living in large cities. As much as 43.3% of patients reported concerns about the doctor’s lack of attention experienced during remote consultations. As many as 33% (N = 290) of the respondents reported that remote consultations resulted in a re-evaluation of their trust in the doctor.

Communication barriers during teleconsultations may lead to a limited understanding of the doctor’s message and recommendations. Their elimination and improved communication with patients can be an effective way to improve the level of service and facilitate access to family doctors’ services. The results can contribute to improving the functioning of health institutions, improving the quality of services, and increasing patient satisfaction.

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