Objective: This work aims to guide clinicians practicing endocrinology in the use of telehealth (synchronous patient-clinician visits conducted over video or telephone) for outpatient care.
Participants: The Endocrine Society convened a 9-member panel of US endocrinologists with expertise in telehealth clinical care, telehealth operations, patient-centered care, health care delivery research, and/or evidence-based medicine.
Evidence: The panel conducted a literature search to identify studies published since 2000 about telehealth in endocrinology. One member extracted a list of factors affecting the quality of endocrine care via telehealth from the extant literature. The panel grouped these factors into 5 domains: clinical, patient, patient-clinician relationship, clinician, and health care setting and technology.
Consensus process: For each domain, 2 or 3 members drew on existing literature and their expert opinions to draft a section examining the effect of the domain's component factors on the appropriateness of telehealth use within endocrine practice. Appropriateness was evaluated in the context of the 6 Institute of Medicine aims for health care quality: patient-centeredness, equity, safety, effectiveness, timeliness, and efficiency. The panel held monthly virtual meetings to discuss and revise each domain. Two members wrote the remaining sections and integrated them with the domains to create the full policy perspective, which was reviewed and revised by all members.
Conclusions: Telehealth has become a common care modality within endocrinology. This policy perspective summarizes the factors determining telehealth appropriateness in various patient care scenarios. Strategies to increase the quality of telehealth care are offered. More research is needed to develop a robust evidence base for future guideline development.
Keywords: consensus statement; endocrinology; guidelines; policy perspective; telehealth; telemedicine; virtual care.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society 2022.