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Article on perceived access to health care and the role of telemedicine in the COVID-19 pandemic

A recent publication investigated the impact of non-pharmaceutical measures to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on perceived access to medical care in Germany during three different stages of lockdown over the course of 2020. Additionally, stratified results on the required treatment occasion as well as the use and satisfaction regarding telemedicine services are presented for the stage of the second lockdown in December.

Based on cross-sectional waves in March, July and December 2020 of the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO), descriptive and logistic regression analyses were performed for 18–74-year-old participants requiring medical care. For the majority of participants, access to medical care was ensured during the COVID-19 pandemic: participants reported more frequently ensured access to health care during the less strict second lockdown in December (91.2%) compared to the first lockdown in March (86.8%), but less frequently compared to July (94.2%) during a period with only mild restrictions.

In December, main treatment occasions of required medical appointments were check-up visits at the general practitioner (55.2%) and dentist (36.2%), followed by acute treatments at the general practitioner (25.6%) and dentist (19.0%), treatments at the physio-, ergo- or speech therapist (13.1%), psychotherapist (11.9%), and scheduled hospital admissions or surgeries (10.0%).

Telemedicine complemented the access to medical appointments. Of the participants, 20.0% indicated utilization of telemedical consultations. Of them, 43.7% were satisfied with the service.

The full article entitled Perceived Access to Health Care Services and Relevance of Telemedicine during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany can be found here.