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      Implementation and Usefulness of Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review

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          Identify and summarize the available literature on the acceleration in the use of telemedicine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an aim to provide justification and guidance for its implementation to overcome the limitations associated with the pandemic worldwide.


          We conducted a scoping review through different search strategies in MEDLINE and Google Scholar to identify the available literature reporting data on implementation and usefulness of various modalities of telemedicine during the current pandemic. We summarized the included studies according to field and mode of implementation in a narrative way.


          We included 45 studies that fulfilled selection criteria. About 38% of the studies were conducted in the United States of America (USA), followed by 15.5% in India and 15.5% in China. Most studies (73%) were cross-sectional studies based on historical records. All publications were written in English with the exception of 1 studied published in Spanish. The majority of reports focused on use of telemedicine for outpatient care, followed by in-hospital care.


          The COVID-19 pandemic has promoted the use of telemedicine, a tool that has transformed the provision of medical services. Several modes of implementation are useful to overcome difficulties for patient care during the pandemic. Its benefits are specific to different fields of medical practice. Such benefits, along with the guidance and reported experiences should invite health systems to work for an effective and comprehensive implementation of telemedicine in various fields.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Virtually Perfect? Telemedicine for Covid-19

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            Telehealth for global emergencies: Implications for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

            The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is again reminding us of the importance of using telehealth to deliver care, especially as means of reducing the risk of cross-contamination caused by close contact. For telehealth to be effective as part of an emergency response it first needs to become a routinely used part of our health system. Hence, it is time to step back and ask why telehealth is not mainstreamed. In this article, we highlight key requirements for this to occur. Strategies to ensure that telehealth is used regularly in acute, post-acute and emergency situations, alongside conventional service delivery methods, include flexible funding arrangements, training and accrediting our health workforce. Telehealth uptake also requires a significant change in management effort and the redesign of existing models of care. Implementing telehealth proactively rather than reactively is more likely to generate greater benefits in the long-term, and help with the everyday (and emergency) challenges in healthcare.
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              Telehealth Transformation: COVID-19 and the rise of Virtual Care

              Abstract The novel coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has altered our economy, society and healthcare system. While this crisis has presented the US healthcare delivery system with unprecedented challenges, the pandemic has catalyzed rapid adoption of telehealth or the entire spectrum of activities used to deliver care at a distance. Using examples reported by US healthcare organizations including ours, we describe the role telehealth has played in transforming healthcare delivery during the three phases of the US COVID-19 pandemic: 1) Stay-at-Home Outpatient Care; 2) Initial COVID-19 Hospital Surge, and 3) Post-Pandemic Recovery. Within each of these three phases, we examine how people, process and technology work together to support a successful telehealth transformation. Whether healthcare enterprises are ready or not, the new reality is that virtual care has arrived.

                Author and article information

                J Prim Care Community Health
                J Prim Care Community Health
                Journal of Primary Care & Community Health
                SAGE Publications (Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA )
                10 December 2020
                Jan-Dec 2020
                : 11
                [1 ]Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia
                [2 ]Fundación Valle del Lili, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
                Author notes
                María Fernanda Escobar, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology—High Complexity Obstetric Unit, Fundación Valle del Lili, Carrera 98 No. 18-49, Cali, Valle del Cauca 760032, Colombia. Email: maria.escobar.vi@ 123456fvl.org.co
                © The Author(s) 2020

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                Custom metadata
                January-December 2020

                telemedicine, telehealth, covid-19, sars-cov-2, pandemic


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