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We have read with interest the work of Bozzalla-Cassione et al 1 published recently in your journal regarding the implementation of a telemedicine programme for patients with lupus in northern Italy. It is logical to suppose that the risk of patients with rheumatic diseases of having a more severe clinical course if they become infected with the COVID-19 infection is very high; however, although some of the reports show that there seems to be a low incidence of COVID-19 infection in patients with rheumatic disease, collaborative work with large cohorts is needed, which could show us the real incidence of COVID-19 infection in these patients and what happens with the establishment of telemedicine programmes.2–6
We show an experience in a specialised centre in Bogota, Colombia; currently, we have a cohort of 5597 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in exclusively ambulatory care. On 12 March 2020, in Colombia, the health emergency by COVID-19 was established and a week later the Ministry of Health ordered the outpatient care procedure for the population in isolation. From that moment on, …
Collaborators No other collaborator.
Contributors PS-M and AR-V: study concepts and design, manuscript preparation, manuscript editing and final approval of the article. JC-C and DPR-T: acquisition of data, provided critical revision of the article, analysis, and interpretation, manuscript editing and final approval of the article. SMH-Z and RAC-M: provided critical revision of the article, manuscript preparation, manuscript editing and final approval of the article. AA, DG-B and LV: acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, manuscript editing and final approval of the article.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and public were not involved in this first phase of the study; in future, at the end of the observational study, we will involve the patient expectations, believes and experiences in the in-person consultation, telemedicine models in addition to the experiences of the healthcare workers seeing those patients through the qualitative analysis of the study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.