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ORIGINAL RESEARCH REPORT
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-122

Evaluation of the use and effectiveness of telemedicine among the health professionals during the COVID 19 lockdown period: A cross sectional study


1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Science, College of Medicine, University of Lagos; Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Science, College of Medicine, University of Lagos; Department ofRestorative Dentistry, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Olutayo James
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Science, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jcls.jcls_68_20

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Background: Telemedicine has been documented as a viable option in attending to patient's need where distance is a critical factor. The Federal Government of Nigeria on March 27, 2020, imposed a total lockdown in Lagos state in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The restriction in movement prevented many patients from attending their regular clinics and physical consultations. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use and effectiveness of telemedicine among the hospital health professionals during the lockdown period. Methods: This was an online cross-sectional study among doctors at a tertiary health facility in Lagos. Ethical approval was obtained from the institutional ethical committee. A list of the telephone and WhatsApp contacts of doctors were obtained from the hospital directory; the SurveyMonkey tool was used as an online web-based structured questionnaire for data collection. The information obtained was analyzed to find means and averages. Results: A total of 104 doctors completed the survey. The proportion of participants who used telemedicine was 93.3%, with the most commonly used telemedicine option being phone call (27.1%) and WhatsApp video call (27.1%). The main management provided during this period was counseling (56.6%). Seventy-nine percent of the participants were satisfied with the result of the management provided through telemedicine options, but the major concern was that of ethical issues (36.2%). Majority (44.2%) of the respondents agree that telemedicine was effective during the COVID-19 lockdown period. There was no association found between gender, age, designation, and perceived effectiveness of telemedicine by respondents in this study (P = 0.88, 0.4, and 0.07, respectively). Conclusion: Telemedicine was found to be a useful tool for effective patient's management during the lockdown period although there exist ethical concerns. The formulation of policies guiding its use will ensure the security of information and patient's confidentiality.


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