Internet and Social Media Poster Presentation

P0666 - Telemedicine in/outside the pandemic: a survey about satisfaction of this tool in a cohort of multiple sclerosis patients and their neurologists (ID 1810)

Speakers
  • L. Moiola
Authors
  • L. Moiola
  • M. Di Cristinzi
  • S. Guerrieri
  • A. Nozzolillo
  • M. Orrico
  • S. Gelibter
  • L. Bosco
  • C. Zanetta
  • F. Sangalli
  • M. Filippi
Presentation Number
P0666
Presentation Topic
Internet and Social Media

Abstract

Background

Telemedicine is a live communication between patients and physicians through different technological tools. It became fundamental during COVID-19 pandemic to keep on taking care of patients in more medical fields than before. Given the chance for telemedicine to become a pivotal part of neurological routine practice, we investigated patients and neurologists satisfaction about this tool.

Objectives

This survey aimed to understand satisfactionabout telemedicine during pandemic and its possible use in the future outside pandemic

Methods

We administered a brief survey to a cohort of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients and their neurologists at MS center of San Raffaele Hospital, Milan. Demographic and clinical data (EDSS, treatment) were collected.

Results

151 patients filled out the survey: 75% females; mean age 42.2yy (18-73); median EDSS 1.5 (0-7). Treatments were almost equally distributed across first and second-line drugs (10% interferon, 10% glatiramer acetate, 14% teriflunomide, 22% dimethylfumarate, 23% fingolimod, 3% cladribine, 8% alemtuzumab, 10% ocrelizumab).

87% of patients appreciated telemedicine during pandemic; 10% had a positive opinion but with a need for traditional evaluations, while 3% were not satisfied.

Considering the possible routine use of telemedicine outside the pandemic, 82% firmly stated the importance of traditional evaluations. In particular, 44% would alternate in person and remote visits, while 38% strongly preferred traditional ones. Among the latters, the main reasons were the need for human empathy with the neurologist and the feeling that traditional evaluations may lead to better clinical outcomes. The remaining 18% would always use telemedicine except in the case of acute events. Neurologists and residents (n=18) were inquired about telemedicine: no one would use it as the only tool, 33% would alternate it with traditional practice and 67% would use it only in special contexts.

Conclusions

In our survey, both patients and neurologists recognized the importance of telemedicine during a pandemic. Patients more than physicians seemed ready to use it in everyday clinical practice. These data may be biased by a still ongoing patients fear and physicians lack of confidence in this multifaceted tool. The pandemic spurred the development of institutional telematic platforms capable of providing legal protection and traceability of visits and communication between patients and physicians. So far, we can conclude that telemedicine is a useful tool to overcome space-time limits, giving the best care to all patients in any condition. However, it cannot replace but only integrate traditional medicine.

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