BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2021 Jun 25;21(1):198. doi: 10.1186/s12911-021-01563-1.
BACKGROUND: With the magnitude and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual face-to-face consultation within a clinical setting is no longer feasible. Thus, this led to the need for alternate means to provide adequate patient care for surgical patients. This is where the role of smartphones comes into play, in which it is thus of paramount importance. This research study aimed to assess the usefulness of smartphones in surgical practice during COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study is based on a questionnaire distributed among surgeons in different levels of practice working at Kuwait governmental hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire was developed via Google Docs to collect data for the current study.
RESULTS: Out of 600 surgeons, 180 have responded to the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 30%. Of these, 42.8%, 85.5%, and 58.9% were aged between 35 and 44 years, were male, and Kuwaiti nationals, respectively. Almost all of the respondents (99.5%) were using smartphones for hospital-related work. The most common uses of the smartphones involved texting (70%), and viewing or taking images and videos using built-in cameras (60%) either in the emergency department, outpatient clinics, wards, or operating rooms. The majority of the respondents (88%) rated the use of smartphones in practice as important.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed that using smartphones in surgical practice was prevalent among the respondent surgeons in Kuwait during the pandemic. The majority of them considered using smartphones in practice to be important, due to its benefits in facilitating doctor-doctor and patient-doctor communication, reviewing the literature, and making clinical decisions. Guidelines are required for proper and legal use of smartphone devices in medical practice. Accordingly, recommendations are suggested.