Survey results: Physicians reach for the telephone during lockdown

Feedback from a poll of 1424 physicians fielded by Medefield earlier this month (between May 6-20) shows that during this recent period of lockdown, respondents were typically speaking to their patients as much by telephone as they were seeing them face-to-face, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Video calls are used notably less frequently, though there has been a surge in adoption since March, according to poll results.


Physicians said that over the previous seven days they had on average met with 28 patients in their office or clinic. By comparison, they had spoken to an average of 29 patients by phone over the same period.

Thirty (30) percent of respondents had not met any patients face-to-face in their office or clinic during the prior week, but just 12% had not spoken to at least one of their patients by phone.

Fifty-two (52) percent of physicians conducted in-person consultations with hospitalised patients, indicating that over the previous seven days they had met with an average of 10 patients in this setting.

Overall, respondents said that 45% of their recent consultations with patients occurred face-to-face and 55% occurred using other means of communication.

Email was used by half of all the physicians polled to conduct patient consultations, while video platforms (such as Skype, Zoom, Facetime) and text-messaging services were utilised by 46% and 42% of respondents, respectively.

Physicians said that during this period they used email, video and text-messaging platforms to consult with an average of six to seven patients a week.

For the vast majority of physicians who have used video consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic, this represents a novel way of consulting patients. Eighty-nine (89) percent of respondents who have used video platforms only began using them since March of this year.

On a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 7 (very likely), 48% of physicians who have yet to use video scored the likelihood of them using this technology over the next three months at between 4 and 7. Around a quarter of respondents said it is unlikely they will use video calls.

FirstWord Pharma PLUS clients will be able to read more detailed analysis of these results, which break out data by country and physician specialty, later this week.

To read more Physician Views Poll Results articles, click here.