The Impact of COVID-19 on Telemedicine Utilization Across Multiple Service Lines in the United States

Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Oct 1;8(4):E380. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8040380.

Abstract

The impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. healthcare industry cannot be overstated. Telemedicine utilization increased overnight as all healthcare providers rushed to implement this delivery model to ensure accessibility and continuity of patient care. Our research objective was to determine measures that were implemented to accommodate community and individual patient needs to afford access to critical services and to maintain safety standards. We analyzed literature since 2016 from two databases using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). We compared observations, themes, service lines addressed, issues identified, and interventions requiring in-person care. From 44 articles published, we identified ten effectiveness themes overall and drew conclusions on service line successes. COVID-19 has caused rapid expansion in telemedicine. Necessary and required changes in access, risk mitigation, the need for social distancing, compliance, cost, and patient satisfaction are a few of the driving factors. This review showcased the healthcare industry's ability to rapidly acclimate and change despite the pervasive spread of COVID-19 throughout the U.S. Although imperfect, unique responses were developed within telemedicine platforms to mitigate disruptions broadly and effectively in care and treatment modalities.

Keywords: COVID-19; health service lines; pandemic; telehealth; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Review