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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, our …
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.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the ethics committee for research on human beings HSJ-FUCS (CEISH). Act number 13/ May 2020.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.