Background: Sudden need to use telemedicine during the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic forced physicians to temporarily use online tools for their usual offline services. The present study is one of the first in India to focus on how pediatricians adapted to tele-consultation service.
Aim and Objective: The aim of the study was to analyze pediatricians perception of providing tele-consultation care and to analyze the drug prescription profiles during COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional questionnaire based study was conducted in Maharashtra, India, in form of a survey. Data were collected through a snowball sampling method by sending Google form on WhatsApp groups. Pediatricians perception about tele-consultation and categorical variables was expressed as frequencies and percentages.
Results: Two hundred seventeen pediatricians who used tele-consultation service prescribed drugs either during the same call (57.6%) or by sending a text message after hanging up the phone call (32.7%). Fever (90.32%) and cough with rhinorrhea (82.95%) were the chief complaints and antipyretics (92.63%) were the most frequently prescribed drugs. Advantages expressed by participants were cost-effectiveness for patients, as it saves cost of commute and loss of wages (72.4%), saves time and efforts of the patients (55.5%), and easy to approach method (55.9%). Major drawbacks accepted were lack of direct observation of patient (92.1%), health problem communication dependent on the parents/patients perception (76.9%), and difficulty in consent documentation (53.45%).
Conclusions: Pediatricians in study area accepted tele-consultation as an effective method of practice during COVID-19 pandemic which benefited the patients but awareness of its limitations was also a concern.
Key words: Coronavirus Disease-19 Pandemic; Tele-consultation; Pediatrics, Survey