The Role of Telemedicine in Transforming Healthcare Delivery—Capabilities and Barriers

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 2642

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Meuhedet Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv-Jaffa 6203854, Israel
2. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3525433, Israel
3. Health Administration Department, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezrael 1930600, Israel
Interests: telemedicine; digital health; health disparities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Telemedicine plays a significant role in improving access to healthcare services by overcoming traditional barriers, increasing convenience, and enhancing healthcare delivery. Telemedicine allows individuals in remote or underserved areas to access medical care without the need to travel long distances. This is particularly important in rural and isolated regions where there is a shortage of healthcare providers. Telemedicine helps ensure access to healthcare services for vulnerable populations, such as those who are elderly, are disabled, or have chronic conditions, who may have difficulty traveling to medical facilities. Patients can more easily receive follow-up care through telemedicine, reducing the need for multiple in-person visits. This is particularly beneficial for those with chronic conditions. Telemedicine provides a means for patients with chronic diseases to regularly monitor and manage their conditions, reducing hospital readmissions and improving overall health outcomes. Mobile apps and wearable devices connected to telemedicine platforms allow for real-time monitoring of patients' health, making it easier for healthcare providers to intervene when necessary. While telemedicine offers numerous benefits for improving healthcare access, it is essential to address issues such as healthcare disparities and reimbursement policies and to ensure that patients have access to the necessary technology and training to use telemedicine effectively. Nevertheless, it continues to be a vital tool in making healthcare more accessible and convenient for people around the world.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Patient Education: educating patients about the availability and benefits of telemedicine;
  • Provider Training: training healthcare providers in telemedicine best practices, including conducting virtual examinations, protecting patient privacy, and using telemedicine platforms effectively;
  • Remote Monitoring: utilizing remote monitoring tools and wearable devices to collect patient data and to monitor chronic conditions;
  • Scheduling and Workflow Optimization: streamlining appointment scheduling and workflows to ensure that telemedicine appointments are efficient;
  • Telemedicine Apps: developing telemedicine apps that make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, to receive reminders, and to access their medical records;
  • Emergency Protocols: developing protocols for handling emergency situations during telemedicine appointments.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Motti Haimi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • telemedicine
  • e-health
  • health disparities
  • remote treatment and monitoring
  • usability
  • e-health literacy
  • patient safety
  • digital divide

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 1962 KiB  
Article
Satisfaction with Teleophthalmology Services: Insights from Remote Areas of Taiwan
by Nancy Chen, Jen-Hung Wang and Cheng-Jen Chiu
Healthcare 2024, 12(8), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12080818 - 11 Apr 2024
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Abstract
During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, teleophthalmology provided access to eye care for rural populations. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of and satisfaction with an integrated real-time videoconferencing module. This project incorporated ophthalmic instruments and telecommunication devices and provided on-site consultations [...] Read more.
During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, teleophthalmology provided access to eye care for rural populations. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of and satisfaction with an integrated real-time videoconferencing module. This project incorporated ophthalmic instruments and telecommunication devices and provided on-site consultations via videoconferencing. Both patients and healthcare providers completed satisfaction questionnaires. From May 2020 to May 2021, this project provided eye care services to 395 patients (aged 6–90 years). The most frequent eye condition was chronic conjunctivitis (n = 197), followed by senile cataract (n = 163), dry eye (n = 103), and refractive error (n = 95). Among them, 40 (10.1%) patients were referred to secondary or tertiary hospitals for further evaluation or treatment. In total, 181 recruited respondents provided good satisfaction scores in all dimensions, including quality of medical care (4.50 of 5.00), financial aspects of care (4.48), supportive attitude toward the project (4.47), quality of service (4.40), and quality of telecommunication (4.40). Women had a substantially more supportive attitude toward the project, and 25 healthcare providers provided low ratings in areas representing the quality of telecommunication (4.04) and user-friendliness of the instrument (4.00). This teleophthalmology system provided efficient and satisfactory eye care to participants in remote communities. However, better internet access and training in instrument use can reduce obstacles to the future implementation of the project. Full article
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12 pages, 537 KiB  
Article
Personalizing Communication of Clinicians with Chronically Ill Elders in Digital Encounters—A Patient-Centered View
by Gillie Gabay, Hana Ornoy, Attila Gere and Howard Moskowitz
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040434 - 8 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 855
Abstract
Background: Chronically ill elderly patients are concerned about losing the personal connection with clinicians in digital encounters and clinicians are concerned about missing nonverbal cues that are important for the diagnosis, thus jeopardizing quality of care. Aims: This study validated the expectations and [...] Read more.
Background: Chronically ill elderly patients are concerned about losing the personal connection with clinicians in digital encounters and clinicians are concerned about missing nonverbal cues that are important for the diagnosis, thus jeopardizing quality of care. Aims: This study validated the expectations and preferences of chronically ill elderly patients regarding specific communication messages for communication with clinicians in telemedicine. Methods: The sample comprised 600 elderly chronically ill patients who use telehealth. We used a conjoint-based experimental design to test numerous messages. The outcome variable is elder patient expectations from communication with clinicians in telemedicine. The independent variables were known categories of patient–clinician communication. Respondents rated each of the 24 vignettes of messages. Results: Mathematical clustering yielded three mindsets, with statistically significant differences among them. Members of mindset 1 were most concerned with non-verbal communication, members of mindset 2 prefer communication that enhances the internal locus of control, and members of mindset 3 have an external locus of control and strongly oppose any dialogue about their expectations from communication. Conclusions: The use of the predictive algorithm that we developed enables clinicians to identify the belonging of each chronically ill elderly patient in the clinic to a sample mindset, and to accordingly personalize the communication in the digital encounters while structuring the encounter with greater specificity, therefore enhancing patient-centered care. Full article
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Review

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13 pages, 298 KiB  
Review
Utilizing Telemedicine Applications in Celiac Disease and Other Gluten-Free-Diet-Dependent Conditions: Insights from the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Motti Haimi and Aaron Lerner
Healthcare 2024, 12(11), 1132; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12111132 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Background: Globally, approximately 1.4% of people have celiac disease (CD), induced by gluten sensitivity. If left untreated, it causes small intestinal inflammation and villous atrophy, which can result in failure to thrive, anemia, osteoporosis, malabsorption, and even malignancy. The only treatment option available [...] Read more.
Background: Globally, approximately 1.4% of people have celiac disease (CD), induced by gluten sensitivity. If left untreated, it causes small intestinal inflammation and villous atrophy, which can result in failure to thrive, anemia, osteoporosis, malabsorption, and even malignancy. The only treatment option available is a gluten-free diet (GFD). Few studies have looked at the role and perception of telehealth in relation to CD and selective nutrition both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Aim: Our goal was to screen and investigate the research conducted both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic concerning the utilization of telehealth applications and solutions in CD and other GFD-dependent circumstances. Methods: We employed a narrative review approach to explore articles that were published in scholarly journals or organizations between the years 2000 and 2024. Only English-language publications were included. PubMed and Google Scholar searches were mainly conducted using the following keywords: telemedicine, telehealth, telecare, eHealth, m-health, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, celiac disease, and gluten-free diet (GFD). Manual searches of the references in the acquired literature were also carried out, along with the authors’ own personal contributions of their knowledge and proficiency in this field. Results: Only a few studies conducted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak examined the viewpoints and experiences of adult patients with CD with relation to in-person clinic visits, as well as other options such as telehealth. The majority of patients believed that phone consultations were appropriate and beneficial. Video conferencing and telemedicine became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the effectiveness of using these technologies for CD on a global basis. In recent years, urine assays for gluten identification have become accessible for use at home. These tests could be helpful for CD monitoring with telemedicine assistance. Conclusions: The extended knowledge gathered from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to complement pre-COVID-19 data supporting the usefulness of telemedicine even after the emergent pandemic, encouraging its wider adoption in standard clinical practice. The monitoring and follow-up of CD patients and other GFD-dependent conditions can greatly benefit from telemedicine. Full article
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