Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior
Objective: This study aimed to investigate the factors affecting the unwillingness of physicians involved in epilepsy care to continue telemedicine during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Japan.
Method: This was a national-level cross-sectional survey initiated by Japan Young Epilepsy Section (YES-Japan) which is a national chapter of The Young Epilepsy Section of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE-YES). We asked physicians who conducted telemedicine in patients with epilepsy (PWE) during the COVID-19 pandemic at four clinics and 21 hospitals specializing in epilepsy care in Japan from March 1 to April 30, 2021. The following data were collected: (1) participant profile, (2) characteristics of PWE treated by telemedicine, and (3) contents and environmental factors of telemedicine. Statistically significant variables (p < 0.05) in the univariate analysis were analyzed in a multivariate binary logistic regression model to detect the independently associated factors with the unwillingness to continue telemedicine.
Result: Among the 115 respondents (response rate: 64%), 89 were included in the final analysis. Of them, 60 (67.4%) were willing to continue telemedicine, and 29 (32.6%) were unwilling. In the univariate binary logistic regression analysis, age (Odds ratio [OR] = 1.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-3.09, p = 0.02), psychiatrist (OR = 5.88, 95% CI 2.15-16.08, p = 0.001), hospital (OR = 0.10, 95% CI 0.01-0.94, p = 0.04), the number of COVID-19 risk factors in the participant (OR = 2.88, 95% CI 1.46-5.69, p = 0.002), the number of COVID-19 risk factors in the cohabitants (OR = 2.52, 95% CI 1.05-6.01, p = 0.04), COVID-19 epidemic area (OR = 4.37, 95% CI 1.18-16.20, p = 0.03), consultation time during telemedicine (OR = 2.51, 95% CI 1.32-4.76, p = 0.005), workload due to telemedicine (OR = 4.17, 95% CI 2.11-8.24, p < 0.001) were statistically significant. In the multivariate binary logistic regression analysis, workload due to telemedicine (OR = 4.93, 95% CI 1.96-12.35) was independently associated with the unwillingness to continue telemedicine.
Conclusion: This national-level cross-sectional survey found that workload due to telemedicine among physicians involved in epilepsy care was independently associated with the unwillingness to continue telemedicine.