Diabetes telemedicine clinic implementation during the COVID-19 virus outbreak in Saudi Arabia
- Journal of Diabetes, Metabolic Disorders & Control
Eman Sheshah,1 Khalid Kelis,1 Najim Abdulwahid,1 Nahla Alswaied,2 Reem Aman,1 Mohammed Alghamdi,1 Rabab Hassanien,1 Amira Abbas,1 Lamiaa Fathy,1 Abdulaziz Aldokhail,1 Abdulaziz Alzahrany,1 Jawaher Alokail,1 Dalal Al-Qaisi,1 Amira Basha,1 Ghassan Aldekhayel,1 Amal Azizi1
Background: Saudi Arabia implemented a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the COVID-19 after a global pandemic has been declared by the World Health Organization. Diabetes patients are one of the most vulnerable chronic illness groups to the complications of COVID-19 virus, thus the necessary to implement a tele-medicine clinic during the lockdown.
Methods: A cross-sectional observational study, the study was done during the period from October to December 2020. We used convenience sampling to select participants who attended the clinics of the Diabetes Care Center at King Salman Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A total of 375 patients participated in the study.
Results: The study included 375 participants around 60% were female participants. The age of almost one-third of them (33.9%) ranged between 51 and 60 years. Most of the participants were type 2 diabetic patients (85.3%), and lived in Riyadh city (97.6%). Vast majority of participants (99.5%) were follow-up patients and reported telemedicine visit by physicians (98.9%). Patients’ satisfaction questions showed that majority of the participants either strongly agreed or agreed with the statements that they were satisfied with the quality of the audio during the virtual visit (92%), use of telemedicine was essential in maintaining health during the COVID-19 outbreak (90.1%), the quality of the medical care provided during the virtual visit (88.3%), the clarity of the management plan discussed with the heath care practitioner during the virtual visit (87.7%), the tele-medicine visit was as good as a regular in person visit (81.5%). Also, majority of the participants recommend making diabetes tele-medicine clinic as an available option for patients with diabetes after the COVID-19 outbreak is over (81.5%).
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has urged the transition from in person clinical visits to tele-medicine clinics and showed that it is feasible and effective to have the option of tele-medicine for diabetes clinics in Saudi Arabia. The majority of diabetic patients reported high levels of satisfaction with the tele-medicine clinic.
COVID-19, diabetes, telemedicine, telehealth, patient satisfaction, Saudi Arabia