HumanInsight Telemedicine solutions for clinical care delivery during COVID-19 pandemic: A scoping review
Front Public Health. 2022 Jul 22;10:937207. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.937207. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: The unexpected emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed mindsets about the healthcare system and medical practice in many fields, forcing physicians to reconsider their approaches to healthcare provision. It is necessary to add new, unique, and efficient solutions to traditional methods to overcome this critical challenge. In this regard, telemedicine offers a solution to this problem. Remote medical activities could diminish unnecessary visits and provide prompt medical services in a timely manner.
OBJECTIVE: This scoping review aimed to provide a map of the existing evidence on the use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on delineation functions and technologies, analyzing settings, and identifying related outcomes.
METHODS: This review was conducted following the Arksey and O'Malley framework and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) checklist. PubMed and Scopus databases were systematically searched based on specific eligibility criteria. The English publications included in this study focused on telemedicine systems implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide clinical care services. Two independent reviewers screened the articles based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. The relevant features of telemedicine systems were summarized and presented into the following four domains and their subcategories, including functionality, technology, context, and outcomes.
RESULTS: Out of a total of 1,602 retrieved papers, 66 studies met the inclusion criteria. The most common function implemented was counseling, and telemedicine was used for diagnosis in seven studies. In addition, in 12 studies, tele-monitoring of patients was performed by phone, designed platforms, social media, Bluetooth, and video calls. Telemedicine systems were predominantly implemented synchronously (50 studies). Moreover, 10 studies used both synchronous and asynchronous technologies. Although most studies were performed in outpatient clinics or centers, three studies implemented a system for hospitalized patients, and four studies applied telemedicine for emergency care. Telemedicine was effective in improving 87.5% of health resource utilization outcomes, 85% of patient outcomes, and 100% of provider outcomes.
CONCLUSION: The benefits of using telemedicine in medical care delivery systems in pandemic conditions have been well-documented, especially for outpatient care. It could potentially improve patient, provider, and healthcare outcomes. This review suggests that telemedicine could support outpatient and emergency care in pandemic situations. However, further studies using interventional methods are required to increase the generalizability of the findings.
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