A framework for patient-centered telemedicine: Application and lessons learned from vulnerable populations

J Biomed Inform. 2020 Dec;112:103622. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2020.103622. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Virtual technologies can facilitate clinical monitoring, clinician-patient interactions, and enhance patient-centered approaches to healthcare delivery. Telemedicine, two-way communication between a healthcare provider and a patient not in the same physical location, emphasizes patient preference and convenience by substituting the transportation of patients with information transfer. We present a framework for implementation of a comprehensive, dynamic, patient-centered telemedicine network deployed in 12 opioid treatment programs (OTP) located throughout New York State (NYS). The program aims to effectively manage hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection via telemedicine with co-administration of HCV and substance use medications. We have found that the Sociotechnical System model with emphasis on patient-centered factors provides a framework for telemedicine deployment and implementation to a vulnerable population. The issue of interoperability between the telemedicine platform and the electronic health record (EHR) system as well as clinical information retrieval for medical decision-making are challenges with implementation of a comprehensive, dynamic telemedicine system. Targeting telemedicine to a vulnerable population requires additional consideration of trust in the security and confidentiality of the telemedicine system. Our contribution is the valuable lessons learned from implementing a comprehensive, dynamic, patient-centered telemedicine system among an OTP network throughout NYS as applied to a vulnerable population that can be generalized to other difficult-to-reach populations.

Keywords: Data quality and management; Design; Healthcare delivery system; Hepatitis C virus; Integrating substance use treatment into primary care; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • New York
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Telemedicine*
  • Vulnerable Populations*