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Non-face-to-face phone medical appointments ‘disastrous’ for some patients

03 November 2021

Remote medical consultations have been “disastrous” for some patients, according to a review by the University of Cambridge, with 93% of clinicians saying that the quality of diagnoses was worse through online and phone consultations.

Researchers surveyed over 1,000 rheumatology patients, as well as the GPs and hospital clinicians caring for them. Most said they found such consultations more convenient, but the researchers were concerned about the impact on accurate assessments, and whether there is now a barrier in the way of care for certain groups of people.

One patient said: “My rheumatologist cannot see or hear how I move, look at my skin, eyes, hair, hands, bones, how I am. I was diagnosed with something over the phone, which I know isn’t right, and it’s getting worse.”

The study is published in the journal Rheumatology.