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Application of Telehealth in Prenatal Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Cross-Sectional Survey of Polish Women
Journal of Clinical Medicine , Volume 10; doi:10.3390/jcm10122570
Abstract: To reduce the risk of infection of SARS-CoV-2 during commuting to the clinic or due to contact with medical staff, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended arranging some appointments in the form of “telehealth”. The aim of the study was to assess the access to medical care in pregnancy during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the role of telehealth in the implementation of prenatal care standards. This is a cross-sectional study. The study group included 618 women who were pregnant and/or gave birth in Poland during the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the participants experienced difficulties accessing medical care because of the pandemic. The correlation between this experience and the use of the hybrid healthcare model was established. The affiliation to public or private healthcare was irrelevant. There was no relationship between healthcare (private/public or in-person/hybrid) and implementation of the prenatal care standards. To ensure safe access to prenatal care for pregnant women, recommendations for a hybrid pregnancy management model should be created with detailed information regarding which appointments patients must be present for in-person and which can be conducted remotely. To reduce the risks associated with movement and interpersonal contact, all visits during which tests and screenings take place should be conducted in-person; other appointments can be arranged in the form of telehealth.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 / prenatal care / standard of care / telemedicine / cross-sectional studies / Poland
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