Telehealth as a Bright Spot of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations From the Virtual Frontlines ("Frontweb")

JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020 Jun 25;6(2):e19045. doi: 10.2196/19045.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated the telehealth tipping point in the practice of family medicine and primary care in the United States, making telehealth not just a novel approach to care but also a necessary one for public health safety. Social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders have shifted patient care from face-to-face consultations in primary care offices to virtual care from clinicians' homes or offices, moving to a new frontline, which we call the "frontweb." Our telehealth workgroup employed the Clinical Transformation in Technology implementation framework to accelerate telehealth expansion and to develop a consensus document for clinician recommendations in providing remote virtual care during the pandemic. In a few weeks, telehealth went from under 5% of patient visits to almost 93%, while maintaining high levels of patient satisfaction. In this paper, we share clinician recommendations and guidance gleaned from this transition to the frontweb and offer a systematic approach for ensuring "webside" success.

Keywords: COVID-19; infectious disease; outbreak; pandemic; primary care; public health; telehealth; telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Telemedicine*
  • United States / epidemiology