Main Article Content
Telehealth has been used to care for patients at a distance in specific clinical and demographic situations, but the demand for physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded its application to the broader community. This systematic literature review, of very recent publications, elucidates the new ways telehealth has been implemented, confirms it’s acceptability, accessibility and safety by collating reviews, trial and cohort studies from peer reviewed journals meeting defined risk of bias criteria.
Five literature reviews, three qualitative studies and 22 quantitative studies were included, which confirmed that telehealth is a safe medium for delivery of surgical health care, is accessible and efficient for the majority of patients and clinicians across the age and socioeconomic spectrum. It is time and resource efficient for providers and recipients and improves the delivery of patient-centred care. Many providers have published innovative solutions to the difficulties of telehealth, such as conducting a physical examination or technological limitations at the remote site. Health care can now be delivered directly to the home or the workplace.
Routine in-person postoperative review of patients should be replaced by patient-led telehealth unless there is a specific reason for face-to-face review. Assessment and management of new cases could be managed more efficiently if a carefully planned digital referral process is developed and adopted.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.