The patterns and determinants of telemedicine use during the COVID-19 crisis: A nationwide study

Ahmad Z. Al Meslamani, Raghad Aldulaymi, Husam El Sharu, Zaid Alwarawrah, Osama Mohamed Ibrahim, Nadia Al Mazrouei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although telemedicine services have been adopted on a large scale in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a little is known about the public experience.

This study aimed to investigate consumers’ patterns, nature, and predictors of telemedicine utilization and consumers’ attitude toward this technology.

A quantitative, self-administered questionnaire was developed, validated, and delivered randomly to adults living across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between January 2021 and January 2022. The questionnaire included questions about categories of telemedicine used, purpose of use, challenges encountered during the use of telemedicine, and reasons for not using telemedicine technology. We adopted a proportionate random sampling technique to recruit participants by 3 ways: social media, phone calls, and face to face.

The final dataset included 1584 participants, of which 496 (31.3%) used telemedicine during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The most common reasons for not using telemedicine during COVID-19 was having no idea that telemedicine exists (38.3%, 417 of 1088) or having no idea how to use it (33.5%, 365 of 1088). Telemedicine users reported that that telepharmacy (89.7%), teleconsultation (78.2%), and telediagnosis (23.0%) were the most frequently used telemedicine services during the COVID-19 crisis. Of the 496 telemedicine users, 469 (94.6%) reported using telemedicine for seeking a pharmacist advice about medication instructions, 422 (85.1%) for ordering nonprescription drugs, and 401 (80.8%) for seeking a physician advice. Those with high activity on social media were less likely to be associated with telemedicine users versus nonusers.

Although telepharmacy has been increasingly used by consumers, more attention is needed to fix its limitations and improve patient safety.

This study shows a positive attitude and a general acceptance of telemedicine services among the UAE population. Some sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were significantly associated with the use of telemedicine during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2022.05.020
Pages (from-to)1778–1785
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


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