Background The 25 Centers for Sexual Health (CSHs) in The Netherlands offer free STI and Sexual Health consultations to adolescents: annually approximately 70.000 STI and 11.000 Sexual Health consultations. In some regions there are waiting times for the consultations. Furthermore, the reach of regular consultations is limited among lower educated young people. In a joint pilot project the CSHs wanted to gain insight into whether online video-consultations can contribute to solving these problems. In the first phase of this project, the key question is whether a video consultation is appreciated and can offer sufficient quality, and – if so – for which services and for which target groups? We also explored the time periods of the video consultations.
Methods The key question is approached from two perspectives: client and professional. In 8 regions CSHs offered video consultations – including STI testing methods on distance – to adolescents for whom no physical examination was necessary. Both clients and professionals filled out an online questionnaire directly after the (video)consultation. 20 adolescents were interviewed, all professionals participated in regional organized focusgroups. To create a reference frame, regular consultations were evaluated in the same way. The software of the video-consultations registered time periods.
Results 332 clients evaluated the video-consultations, professionals 535. Clients appreciated the video-consultations on the same positive level as the regular consultations: good contact with professional, enough possibilities to answer all questions and good advice. The professionals also evaluated the video-consultations positive. The time periods of the video-consultations: 43% less than 10 minutes, 37% 10–15 minutes, 21% more than 15 minutes.
Conclusion For consultations without the need for physical examinations and no complex requests, video-consultations can provide the same quality as regular consultations and they are appreciated by the clients. Efficiency advantages seem limited if the time needed to organize STI-testing on a distance is included.
Disclosure No significant relationships.
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