Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-135

WhatsApp-Based virtual consultation in clinical practice during COVID times: A prospective institutional study

1 Department of Endocrine and Metabolic Surgery, Endocare Hospital, Suryaraopeta, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Endocrine and Metabolic Surgery, Baby Memorial Hospital, Calicut, Kerala, India
3 Endocrine Clinic, Berhampur, Orissa, India
4 Department of Endocrine Surgery, SGPGIMS, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Ramakanth Bhargav Panchangam
Endocare Hospital, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aam.aam_88_20

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Background: As the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues its pandemic surge globally, the attention toward the treatment of non-COVID diseases has become difficult. Software-based systems and social media platforms could provide alternatives for ensuring regular health-care non-COVID diseases. In this context, we evaluated our own experience with virtual consultation (VC) for the management of endocrine surgical patients during the current COVID pandemic. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was conducted in the endocrine surgery department spanning 4 months from April to July 2020. We employed WhatsApp-based group video conferencing for VC with both new and follow-up outpatients. We evaluated the satisfaction quotient of patients, regarding the three types of consultations (no consultation, VC, and direct consultation) on an ordinal scale of three modes of consultation. Results: Virtual consultation was performed with 102 new and 285 follow-up patients. Goiters, clinical findings, and wounds/scars (in post-operative cases) were evaluated virtually. Dosage of thyroxine replacement, calcium supplementation, and other medications was prescribed based on findings and history. Patients who needed surgery (25/102 cases) were given appropriate appointment. More than 82% of the patients in both groups preferred VC during this COVID pandemic. Conclusions: More than 82% of both new and follow-up patients preferred VC over direct or no consultation during this COVID pandemic. Our findings suggest that VC through social media platforms is capable of ensuring appropriate treatment and follow-up for endocrine diseases.

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