Purpose The aim of this study was to compare the costs of two different telemedicine-assisted tonsillitis care pathways with traditional face-to-face visits at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ORL-HNS) at Helsinki University Hospital. Methods We characterized and analyzed the patient flows and their individual episodes of all tonsillitis patients at the Department of ORL-HNS between September 2020 and August 2022. Records were collected by doctors at the clinic. We investigated costs and allocated resources in four categories: invoice from the Department of ORL-HNS to the public payer, expenses to the Department, patient fees, and doctor's resource. Results At least a third of the tonsillitis patients were eligible for telemedicine. The digital care pathway was 12.6 % less expensive for the public payer compared to the previous virtual visit model. For the Department, the expense of the digital care pathway was 58.8 % less per patient than the virtual visit model. Patient fees decreased 79.5 %. The digital care pathway reduced the doctor's resource from 30.28 min to 19.78 min, which accounts for a 34.7 % reduction. Patients finished the digital care pathway in a median of 62 min (SD = 60) compared to the 2–4 h which they would spend on an outpatient clinic visit. Conclusion Our study demonstrates that tonsillitis patients are eligible for preoperative telemedicine. With at least a third of the tonsillitis patients being eligible for telemedicine, major cost savings can be achieved with efficient e-health-assisted solutions.
- 3125 Öron-, näs- och halssjukdomar, ögonsjukdomar