The effectiveness of remote consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic: a tool for modernising the National Health Service (NHS)

Clara Smith (Lead / Corresponding author), Bara Kubanova, Fahid Ahmed, Jai Manickavasagam

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Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic prompted major changes to the delivery of care. There was a move towards remote consultations in order to mitigate the risk of viral exposure and the risk of delaying care. Remote consultations will play a prominent role within the National Health Service (NHS) in the future. This project aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of remote consultations relative to face-to-face (F2F) consultations.

Methods: A local retrospective audit of remote consultations in ENT was performed by comparing outcome data for video and telephone appointments during the first peak of the pandemic to outcomes for F2F consultations during the same months of the preceding year. Chi-square tests were employed to determine whether there was any statistically significant discrepancy between the two modalities.

Results: Outcomes from a total of 314 patient consultations were reviewed. One hundred and fifty-four patients were male, and 160 were female; 111 patient consultations were conducted F2F, and 203 remotely (101 via telephone and 102 via video). There was no statistically significant difference detected between remote and F2F groups for rates of investigation, listing for theatre, referral to other specialties, and initiating treatment. Patients reviewed remotely were less likely to be discharged than those reviewed F2F (p=<0.001). Comparing the two remote modalities, telephone patients were more likely to undergo investigation than patients reviewed over video (p = 0.031).

Conclusions: Remote consultations were an effective and reliable resource for maintaining a high standard of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings suggest that remote consultations will prove a valuable tool for clinicians in the remobilisation of health services in the post-pandemic era.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32301
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • healthcare technology
  • otolaryngology
  • telephone consultations
  • video consultations
  • remote consultations


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