Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from Three Representative Surveys on Use, Attitudes and Barriers Among Adults Affected by Depression

23 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2022

See all articles by Sophie von der Groeben

Sophie von der Groeben

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy

Andreas Czaplicki

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy

Ulrich Hegerl

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy

Hanna Reich

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy

Abstract

Introduction: With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face consultations had to be reduced, leading to substantial limitations in healthcare for people suffering from depression. To safely provide adequate but remote and thus safe care, e-health services such as telemedicine gained a more important role. Governments eased restrictions on the use of telemedicine, allowing healthcare professionals to increasingly offer video and telephone consultations.

Objective: This study examines, 1) possible changes over the course of the pandemic in reported use of video and telephone consultations and intended future use of video consultations with healthcare professionals among adults with diagnosed depression; 2) their attitudes towards video and telephone consultations and perceived barriers towards using e-health after prolonged time of the pandemic; and 3) differences in results between subgroups based on sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

Methods: Three population-representative online surveys were conducted in Germany at different timepoints (t) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents aged 18­–69 years with a professionally diagnosed depression were included in the present analyses (t1: June/July 2020 with n=1094; t2: February 2021 with n=1038; t3: September 2021 with n=1255).

Results: The overall proportion of adults with depression who used video or telephone consultations did not change significantly in the time surveyed (t1: 16.51%, n=179; t2: 20.23%, n=210; t3: 18.47%, n=230). However, among users, reported use of video consultations with a psychotherapist increased significantly from t1 (34.83%, n=62) to t3 (44.98%, n=102, p =.023). Intended future use of video consultations was highest at t2 during lockdown in Germany and varied depending on the purpose of the consultation. At t3, the majority of adults with depression felt that video and telephone consultations were too impersonal and considered them more as a helpful support rather than an alternative to face-to-face psychotherapy. Key barriers to using e-health were found within the societal context, as a majority perceived promotion and support as insufficient and did not believe that their significant others would approve of them using e-health.

Conclusion: Despite ambivalent attitudes towards video and telephone consultations among adults with depression, reported use of video consultations with a psychotherapist increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: Ethics: The Ethics Committee of the Department of Medicine at the Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany) affirmed that ethical review and approval were not required for the current study on human participants in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements. Written informed consent for participation was not required for this study in accordance with the national legislation and the institutional requirements. Funding: The study was funded by Deutsche Bahn Stiftung gGmbH Competing interests statement: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Keywords: telemedicine, e-health, Depression, COVID-19, representative survey, longitudinal study

Suggested Citation

von der Groeben, Sophie and Czaplicki, Andreas and Hegerl, Ulrich and Reich, Hanna, Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from Three Representative Surveys on Use, Attitudes and Barriers Among Adults Affected by Depression. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4200241

Sophie Von der Groeben (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy ( email )

Andreas Czaplicki

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy ( email )

Ulrich Hegerl

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy ( email )

Hanna Reich

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
80
Abstract Views
442
Rank
567,538
PlumX Metrics