Aim of the study was to obtain information about patient organizations chairmen’s experience during state of the emergency due to COVID-19 epidemic in Latvia in Spring 2020. Qualitative face-to-face or online, semistructured, in-depth interviews with 7 chairmen of chronic diseases patient organizations were conducted from September to October 2020. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used for data processing. The codes were combined and transformed into themes. In total 10 themes emerged and two of those were related to communication. The study was carried out in frame of the project VPP-COVID-2020/1-0011 of National research programme to lessen the effects of COVID-19. The first theme was information search and distribution. During emergency state in Latvia patient organizations actively looked for up-to-date information regarding the health care services availability, COVID-19 risks, and precaution measures for patients with chronic disease that is under the particular patient organizations’ supervision and communicated it with their members and other stakeholders. Specific COVID-19 risk related informative materials were produced and distributed. The second theme was change of communication channels. Change of communication platform from on site to distance communication was challenging. Before the emergency, many patient organizations had regular meetings with their members, so to ensure communication during emergency diverse e-environment tools were used, mostly, social networks. Also, patient organizations observed increase in demand for telephone consultations that highlighted the need for extra workforce. During emergency due to COVID-19 epidemic in Latvia in Spring 2020 patient organizations experienced increased demand for information and necessity to ensure continuity of communication. Findings could indicate possible patient organizations perception as a reliable source of information and their systematic involvement into health information communication in future could be of value. Change from on site to distance communication channels require digital literacy improvement among patient organization members.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)