COVID-19 Compels Medical Practitioners and Governments to Promote Telemedicine Practices – A Systematic Review
Telemedicine integrates communication technologies with medicine, which allows healthcare professionals to monitor and treat patients remotely. During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, telemedicine has emerged as the most effective tool in the fight against such infectious diseases. Rapid advances have helped governments realize the flaws in current healthcare systems and have sparked a revolution in how these systems are managed and operated. The present work studies the changes realized within healthcare systems around the world, new regulations advocating these changes, and the barriers to widespread integration of telemedicine with current healthcare delivery systems. The Google Scholar, ScienceDirect and PubMed databases were used to find articles related to the aims of this study. In this systematic review based on the PRISMA guideline, we reviewed 61 studies to analyze the shift in trends within the telemedicine field due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote consultations, teleconferencing, and remote patient monitoring have experienced a significant increase in use and acceptance as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, governments around the world have started to develop policies to expedite the integration of information and communication technologies with healthcare. The findings suggest that while a lot of progress has been made in terms of adopting such technology for healthcare delivery, several barriers, such as lack of legal framework and patient-physician acceptance in developing countries, still exist before telemedicine can be fully integrated with existing healthcare systems.