Use of telehealth resources in primary care and its association with facing the COVID-19 pandemic in Minas Gerais, Brazil
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Faculty of Medicine, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil
Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Brazil
Nursing School, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil
Faculty of Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - Faculty of Medicine, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A632
Background and Objective: Use of telehealth resources increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study set out to examine associations between the level of incorporation of telehealth resources and the level of Primary Health Care structuring to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Methods: A cross-sectional study carried out at the end of 2020, with a sample of 260 Primary Health Care working in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Two variables were created - Level of the Primary Health Care structuring to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and Level of telehealth structuring, involving: Telehealth-based training targeting the community, Telehealth-based medication strategies, number of computers and electronic devices, consultations and monitoring of COVID-19 patients using Telehealth resources, Information and Communication Tecnologies - and Telehealth-based monitoring of chronic patients, internet availability and teleactivities. Associations between variables were examined using the Tukey's test for multiple comparisons and the Spearman correlation. Variables associated with socioeconomic dimensions and healthcare were also analyzed. Results: Levels of telehealth structuring in Primary Health Care ranged from poor (43%) to regular (40%) in most cases. Most Primary Health Care teams had regular (56%) or good (37%) levels of Primary Health Care structuring to deal with the pandemic. Telehealth use and COVID-19 tackling ability were significantly correlated (p<0.050). The higher the level of telehealth use, the better the ability to deal with COVID-19 (0.45; p<0.001). No correlations with human development index, number of hospital beds and percentage of health insurance plans were detected. Primary Health Care was structured to tackle the pandemic. However, there is a lot to be done before telehealth resources are effectively incorporated into Primary Health Care. Conclusions: Whenever incorporated, telehealth resources contributed a more robust primary care structuring to deal the COVID-19 pandemic.
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