Digital Readiness for eConsultation towards the COVID-19 pandemic among Health Professionals: Northwest, Ethiopia
Keywords:electronic consultation, readiness, health professionals, Ethiopia
Background: Integrating electronic consultation solutions into the healthcare system is not only about modernizing the health system, but it is also about saving many lives by simplifying the access of communication, and making evidence-based decisions. Even though electronic consultations are essential interventions for combating pandemics like covid-19, their application and practice remains low in developing countries including Ethiopia.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine health professionals’ readiness, and associated factors about electronic consultation in University of Gondar specialized hospital.
Method: An institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted on 300 health professionals from April 25 to May 30/2020 in University of Gondar specialized hospital, in Ethiopia. Structured questionnaire was used to collect the data, and the data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 software. In addition, descriptive statistics, bivariable, and multivariable logistic regression analyses were done. Similarly, an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) with 95% CI was used to determine the associations between the determinants and the outcome variables.
Result: More than half (176; 60.5%) of health professionals were ready to use the electronic consultation to combat covid-19 in the health system. Computer training (AOR = 1.816; 95% CI = 1.078 – 3.061), using internet (AOR = 1.861; 95% CI = 1.009 – 3.432), and being technologically ready (AOR = 1.962; 95% CI = 1.196 – 3.218) were significantly associated with e-consultation readiness.
Conclusion and Recommendation: In general, the overall readiness of health professionals for e-consultation was found to be good. Different packages of capacity building are essential to increase the level of computer skill and internet use among health professionals.