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General practice trainees' telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study


General practice trainees' telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study

Fam Pract. 2023 Mar 7:cmad022. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmad022. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, remuneration was introduced for Australian general practice telehealth consultations. General practitioner (GP) trainees' telehealth use is of clinical, educational, and policy importance. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and associations of telehealth versus face-to-face consultations amongst Australian GP registrars (vocational GP trainees).

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of data from the Registrar Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) study, from 2020 to 2021 (three 6-month terms), including registrars in 3 of Australia's 9 Regional Training Organisations. In ReCEnT, GP registrars record details of 60 consecutive consultations, 6 monthly. The primary analysis used univariate and multivariable logistic regression, with outcome of whether the consultation was conducted via telehealth (phone and videoconference) or face-to-face.

RESULTS: 1,168 registrars recorded details of 102,286 consultations, of which 21.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 21.1%-21.6%) were conducted via telehealth. Statistically significant associations of a telehealth consultation included shorter consultation duration (odds ratio [OR] 0.93, 95% CI: 0.93-0.94; and mean 12.9 versus 18.7 min); fewer problems addressed per consultation (OR 0.92, 95% CI: 0.87-0.97); being less likely to seek assistance from a supervisor (OR 0.86, 95% CI: 0.76-0.96) while being more likely to generate learning goals (OR 1.18, 95% CI: 1.02-1.37); and being more likely to arrange a follow-up consultation (OR 1.18, 95% CI: 1.02-1.35).

CONCLUSIONS: That telehealth consultations were shorter, with higher rates of follow-up, has GP workforce/workload implications. That telehealth consultations were less likely to involve in-consultation supervisor support, but more likely to generate learning goals, has educational implications.

PMID:36882013 | DOI:10.1093/fampra/cmad022

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