Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): telemedicine and remote care delivery in a time of medical crisis, implementation, and challenges
The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has led to many challenges throughout the world, one of which is the delivery of health care to patients while they remain home. Telemedicine, or the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, has been utilized by health care providers for many years, but its widespread implementation did not occur until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, it has become the primary mechanism of care delivery for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. While obstacles are present for hospitals and providers to establish these services, most barriers exist with patient access. Patients require advanced technical support, translator services, and other measures to become comfortable engaging in a telemedicine encounter. In addition, appropriate follow-up must be provided for chronic medical illnesses and malignancies, helping to prevent the evolution of these conditions during the COVID-19 crisis. Finally, we must ensure equity for all patients seeking to access health services, including those of lower socioeconomic status. Many of these patients rely on public hotspots or library computers for their internet connectivity, but this is likely not conducive to a clinical encounter. These barriers must be addressed to ensure health equity for all patients seeking care. Telemedicine can connect patients and providers during this time of crisis and hopefully will serve as a model for continued use after the pandemic has abated.
Kronenfeld, J. P., & Penedo, F. J. (2021). Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): telemedicine and remote care delivery in a time of medical crisis, implementation, and challenges. Transl Behav Med, 11(2), 659-663. doi:10.1093/tbm/ibaa105