Viewpoint: How clinicians should address patient telehealth concerns fueled by the pandemic

Clinicians and healthcare organizations should evaluate and address patient concerns that may have arisen during the industry's rapid shift to telehealth during the pandemic, nine researchers wrote in a perspectives article published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Some patients who've enjoyed the convenience of telehealth will want to continue using it after the pandemic, the article's authors wrote. That means clinicians will need to do their best to communicate with patients about when an in-person visit is needed and when a telehealth visit is sufficient.

Clinicians and healthcare organizations should also discuss the privacy implications of telehealth with their patients, including what information will be shared with other providers to ensure patient trust, according to the article.

In the context of COVID-19, some patients may not trust that the telehealth services they're receiving are at the same level of quality an in-person visit would be, the authors said. They also may feel their health issues aren't receiving proper attention if they're not COVID-19-related. The article recommends that clinicians give sufficient attention to non-COVID-19 related health concerns and that health systems develop metrics for evaluating the quality of telehealth care.

Providers should also discuss other issues with patients like language barriers, lack of access to devices or broadband and social barriers to build trust in a new landscape of care, the article's authors added.


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