Effect of the Announcement of Human-to-Human Transmission on Telemedicine Services in China during COVID-19

Mairehaba Maimaitiming, Jingui Xie, Zhichao Zheng, Yongjian Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Telemedicine enables patients to communicate with physicians effectively, especially during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, few studies have explored the use of online health care platforms for a comprehensive range of specialties during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to investigate how telemedicine services were affected by the announcement of human-to-human transmission in China. Methods: Telemedicine data from haodf.com in China were collected. A difference-in-differences analysis compared the number of telemedicine use and the number of active online physicians for different specialties in 2020 with the numbers in 2019, before and after the announcement of human-to-human transmission. Results: Data from 2 473 734 telemedicine use during the same calendar time in 2020 and 2019 were collected. Telemedicine use in 2020 increased by 349.9% after the announcement of human-to-human transmission in China, and the number of active online physicians increased by 23.2%. The difference-in-differences analysis indicated that the announcement had statistically significant positive effects on the numbers of telemedicine use for almost all specialties, except cosmetic dermatology, pathology, occupational diseases, sports medicine, burn, medical imaging, and interventional medicine. Conclusion: Telemedicine services increased significantly after the announcement of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. Online activities of most specialties increased, except where providers had to conduct in-person testing and provide bedside therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere311
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • teleconsultation
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

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