Synchronous home-based telemedicine for primary care experienced growth during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. A review was conducted on the evidence reporting on the feasibility of synchronous telemedicine implementation within primary care, barriers and facilitators to implementation and use, patient characteristics associated with use or nonuse, and quality and cost/revenue-related outcomes. Initial database searches yielded 1,527 articles, of which 22 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Synchronous telemedicine was considered appropriate for visits not requiring a physical examination. Benefits included decreased travel and wait times, and improved access to care. For certain services, visit quality was comparable to in-person care, and patient and provider satisfaction was high. Facilitators included proper technology, training, and reimbursement policies that created payment parity between telemedicine and in-person care. Barriers included technological issues, such as low technical literacy and poor internet connectivity among certain patient populations, and communication barriers for patients requiring translators or additional resources to communicate.
Keywords: COVID-19; general practice; primary care; telemedicine.