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Telemedicine consultation for emergency patients' attention: a clinical experience from a high complex university hospital from Latin America.

INTRODUCTION: As a result of the new coronavirus pandemic, a highly complex academic hospital in Latin America implemented a telemedicine service for the care of obstetric, pediatric, and adult patients. In 2020, regional emergency services collapsed due to the increase in demand for care, generating the need to open expansion services and seek strategies to provide timely care to consulting patients.

OBJECTIVE: We retrospectively describe the clinical experience of patients who consulted the emergency department via telemedicine across a videoconference tool using digital platforms.

METHODS: A descriptive study with retrospective data collection was conducted to describe the implementation of the teleconsultation care model for patients. We constructed the clinical process indicators to evaluate the model.

RESULTS: A total of 4652 teleconsultations were registered. Telemedicine consultation was above 50% in the country and department and above 90% in Cali city. The average waiting time for care was estimated to be 1:59:52 h. A total of 275 patients were transferred to the emergency room after consultation. The principal reasons for consultation in the institutional telemedicine program were respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Teleconsultations related to SARS-COV 2 infections reported 3775 patients (3127 with unidentified virus and 648 with the identified virus).

CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine is a tool that provides support and guidance to patients who consult emergency departments, reducing barriers to access health care and decreasing emergency department collapse.

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