Research to improve people's health


The covid-19 pandemic boosted telemedicine visits in pediatric care

A study led by IDIAPJGol ensures that with the implementation of the state of alarm and lockdowns in 2020, the implementation of remote pediatric care accelerated and has represented a model change in consultations.Doctora videotrucada

The proportion of pediatric telemedicine visits compared to in-person visits has significantly increased since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, as stated by a study led by researcher Marta Castillo, which has involved researchers from the Jordi Gol Primary Care Research Institute (IDIAPJGol) and the Catalan Health Institute (ICS) Central Catalonia. The research, published in the JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting journal, tracks pediatric consultations in primary care between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2022. Until March 2020, telephone consultations accounted for a minimal volume of total consultations. After the pandemic, although the number of in-person visits has returned to February 2020 levels, the number of telemedicine visits is significantly higher than before the health crisis, reaching 25% of the total.

In pediatrics, a peak of this type of consultation was detected during January 2022, coinciding with the wave of the omicron variant, which affected many children with mild symptoms.

The study highlights growth during the pandemic in the number of pediatric consultations conducted without the patient's presence. In the study, the research team argues that a possible explanation would be that, since most cases of covid-19 among children were mild, many visits were likely conducted remotely to report on the result of the virus detection test.

The number of telemedicine visits increased with each new wave of the pandemic. Restrictions on in-person visits applied during the first wave resulted in changes in pediatric care. According to the research team, these changes in visiting trends also occurred in family and community medicine consultations. In this sense, the results of this study suggest that telemedicine consultations are here to stay.

Although covid-19 was a catalyst for telemedicine visits in clinical practice, the Catalan healthcare system has been promoting digital transformation through health plans since 2011. In this context, conducting teleconsultations during lockdown was essential to manage the health emergency at that time. Thanks to actions taken previously, the Catalan healthcare system had the digital infrastructure to cope with the situation and provide quality remote assistance.

Article reference
Castillo-Rodenas M, Vicente Gómez J, Fuster-Casanovas A, Miró Catalina Q, Vidal-Alaball J, López Seguí F; Impact of COVID-19 on the Pediatric Primary Care Model in Catalonia: Analysis of Changes in the Number and Type of Face-to-Face and Remote Visits; JMIR Pediatr Parent 2024;7:e49943 ; URL:; DOI: 10.2196/49943