The worldwide impact of telemedicine during COVID-19: current evidence and recommendations for the future.
Omboni S., Padwal RS., Alessa T., Benczúr B., Green BB., Hubbard I., Kario K., Khan NA., Konradi A., Logan AG., Lu Y., Mars M., McManus RJ., Melville S., Neumann CL., Parati G., Renna NF., Ryvlin P., Saner H., Schutte AE., Wang J.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has emerged worldwide as an indispensable resource to improve the surveillance of patients, curb the spread of disease, facilitate timely identification and management of ill people, but, most importantly, guarantee the continuity of care of frail patients with multiple chronic diseases. Although during COVID-19 telemedicine has thrived, and its adoption has moved forward in many countries, important gaps still remain. Major issues to be addressed to enable large scale implementation of telemedicine include: (1) establishing adequate policies to legislate telemedicine, license healthcare operators, protect patients' privacy, and implement reimbursement plans; (2) creating and disseminating practical guidelines for the routine clinical use of telemedicine in different contexts; (3) increasing in the level of integration of telemedicine with traditional healthcare services; (4) improving healthcare professionals' and patients' awareness of and willingness to use telemedicine; and (5) overcoming inequalities among countries and population subgroups due to technological, infrastructural, and economic barriers. If all these requirements are met in the near future, remote management of patients will become an indispensable resource for the healthcare systems worldwide and will ultimately improve the management of patients and the quality of care.