Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Rheumatology Practice in Latin America Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ObjectiveTo describe the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on Latin American rheumatologists from a professional, economic, and occupational point of view.MethodsWe conducted an observational cross-sectional study using an online survey sent to rheumatologists of each non–English-speaking country member of the Pan American League of Rheumatology Associations (PANLAR). A specific questionnaire was developed.ResultsOur survey included 1097 rheumatologists from 19 Latin American countries. Median (IQR) age of respondents was 48 (40–59) years and 618 (56.3%) were female. Duration of practice since graduation as a rheumatologist was 17 years, and 585 (53.3%) were aged < 50 years. Most rheumatologists worked in private practice (81.8%) and almost half worked in institutional outpatient centers (55%) and inpatient care (49.9%). The median number of weekly hours (IQR) of face-to-face practice before the pandemic was 27 (15–40) hours, but was reduced to 10 (5–20) hours during the pandemic. Telehealth was used by 866 (78.9%) respondents during the pandemic. Most common methods of communication were video calls (555; 50.6%), telephone calls (499; 45.5%), and WhatsApp voice calls (423; 38.6%). A reduction in monthly wages was reported by 946 (86.2%) respondents. Consultation fees also were reduced and 88 (8%) rheumatologists stated they had lost their jobs. A reduction in patient adherence to medication was reported by nearly 50% of respondents. Eighty-one (7.4%) rheumatologists received a COVID-19 diagnosis and 7 (8.6%) of them were hospitalized.ConclusionThe COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped rheumatology practice in Latin America and has had a profound effect on rheumatologists’ behaviors and clinical practice.

authors

  • Fernández-Ávila, Daniel G
  • Barahona-Correa, Julián
  • Romero-Alvernia, Diana
  • Kowalski, Sergio Candido
  • Sapag, Ana
  • Cachafeiro-Vilar, Antonio
  • Meléndez, Belia
  • Santiago-Pastelín, Carlos
  • Palleiro, Daniel
  • Arrieta, Dina
  • Reyes, Gil
  • Pons-Estel, Guillermo J
  • Then-Báez, Jossiell
  • Ugarte-Gil, Manuel F
  • Cardiel, Mario H
  • Colman, Nelly
  • Chávez, Nilmo
  • Burgos, Paula I
  • Montúfar, Rubén
  • Sandino, Sayonara
  • Fuentes-Silva, Yurilis J
  • Soriano, Enrique R

publication date

  • October 2021