Objectives: The present study evaluated the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on early post-operative follow-up of non-COVID surgical patients. Feasibility of telemedicine in providing early follow-up care was also assessed.
Background: Pandemic associated disruption of routine health care services and transport may be associated with early discharge and poor patient follow-up. Telemedicine may act as a tool to provide follow-up advice in this scenario.
Methods: The present observational study included all the non-COVID surgical patients discharged from the unit during 1st March 2020 to 30th Jun 2020. All the eligible patients were interviewed telephonically regarding their follow-up visit, post-operative complaints, complications and any medical attention they required.
Results: A total of 80 patients were operated during the study period of which 65 (81.3%) underwent planned discharge while an early discharge was issued to 12 (15%) of them. Fifty-one (65.0%) patients came for follow-up in-person either to the surgical ward or emergency department. During telecommunication, 72 (90.0%) patients responded and medical advice was given for their queries. Approximately 88.0% of the patients received satisfactory suggestions with this mode of communication.
Conclusion: Early follow up care of surgical patients was delayed in one-third of the cases. Telemedicine increased the proportion of patients receiving follow-up care.