Bugs in the Virtual Clinic: Confronting Telemedicine's Challenges Through Empathy and Support

J Particip Med. 2022 Apr 22;14(1):e25688. doi: 10.2196/25688.


Although telemedicine has been an important conduit for clinical care during the COVID-19 pandemic, not all patients have been able to meaningfully participate in this mode of health care provision. Challenges with accessing telemedicine using consumer technology can interfere with the ability of patients and clinicians to meaningfully connect and lead to significant investments in time by clinicians and their staff. In this narrative case, we identify issues related to patients' use of technology, make comparisons between telehealth adoption and the deployment of electronic health records, and propose that building intuitive and supported digital care experiences for patients is required to make virtual care sustainable.

Keywords: access; challenge; consumer informatics; digital health; electronic health record; patient experience; telehealth; telemedicine; virtual care.