Preliminary results of teleconsultations temporarily allowed during the covid-19 pandemic

Hansang Kim, Hyejin Lee, Choon Seon Park, Soomin Kim, Sang A. Cho, Seung Mi Yoo, Jee Ae Kim, Jin Yong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea has temporarily expanded coverage of teleconsultation to ensure access to essential health services. As a preliminary study, we investigated service utilization patterns and the characteristics of doctors and patients involved in these temporary teleconsultation services. Materials and Methods: Using national health insurance claims data from February 23, 2020 to June 30, 2020 from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, 228269875 cases were identified. Among them, 567390 cases that received teleconsultation services were included in our study. We performed descriptive analyses according to the types of healthcare institutions. Results: In total, 6193 healthcare institutions provided teleconsultation. Of these, 5466 (88.3%) were clinics. Physicians providing teleconsultations were most likely to be doctors of internal medicine (34.0%) or pediatricians (7.0%) and based in the Seoul Metropolitan area (30.4%). In terms of patients undergoing teleconsultation, the most common major disease categories treated were circulatory system diseases (I00–I99). In a detailed analysis, hypertensive diseases (I10–I15) were the most common diagnoses, with a total of 88726 cases (15.6%), followed by diabetes mellitus at 60298 cases (10.6%). The proportion of Medical Aid recipients receiving teleconsultations was higher (9.5%) than other socioeconomic groups. Among all participants, 356622 cases (84.6%) were from a return visit, and 108838 cases (19.2%) received teleconsultation services without being prescribed drugs. Conclusion: Temporarily allowed teleconsultation services were provided mostly to the following patients: 1) those scheduled for revisitation, 2) those with chronic diseases, and 3) those living in pandemic hotspots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-857
Number of pages8
JournalYonsei Medical Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Korea
  • National health insurance
  • Telemedicine
  • ‌SARS-CoV-2


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