About this Research Topic
Telehealth has previously been used as a health care delivery model in Pediatric Medicine on a limited basis. However, given the recent pandemic resulting in stay-at-home orders, telehealth has emerged as a first-line option to provide routine pediatric care and to support care continuity and social distancing. Many large pediatric health centers have adopted a telehealth platform and now deliver care via virtual visits, and reimbursement models have started to accommodate these changes. Patients and families now expect that telehealth is incorporated into healthcare delivery, and demand it going forward. The rapid implementation of telehealth for pediatric healthcare has led to interesting questions regarding how telehealth can best be utilized in the pediatric patient population. There are challenges and opportunities unique to pediatrics and the healthcare of children which telehealth must address.
Pediatric telehealth requires evaluation with a perspective intentionally separate from adult telehealth research. We would like to see sharing of ideas and research of both general pediatric and pediatric specialty telehealth topics. We are interested in exploring the advancement and implementation of telehealth integrated delivery care models as well as innovative virtual practices. In addition, determining pediatric telehealth quality metrics, operational best practices for pediatric medical centers, and discussing equity gaps in pediatric telehealth could also be addressed.
Research questions could include:
- Is care through telehealth equivalent to in-person?
- How does the approach to the pediatric visit need to be adjusted for telehealth?
- Are both patients/families and providers satisfied with the virtual experience?
- What equity gaps are we meeting and what equity gaps are we widening with the use of pediatric telehealth?
- How do we approach the implementation of telehealth in pediatric subspecialties? Which pediatric specialty use cases are amenable to virtualization and which are not?
- What innovations in digital health are being used in pediatric virtual care?
- How are pediatric-specific issues such as adolescent confidentiality, transition to adult medical care, and medical complexity/technology-dependence being addressed via telehealth?
The specific themes that the editors would like to address are the following:
• Implementation methods
• Appropriateness of visits
• Standardizing telehealth visit components and tools
• Innovative approaches of telehealth (e.g. medical genetics consultations, school telehealth, lactation consultations)
• Health disparities and gaps / digital health equity
• Patient/family experience
• Provider/clinical staff experience
• Barriers to pediatric telehealth
• Pediatric telehealth quality measurements.
• Hospital based telemedicine (e.g. neonatology, intensive care, or emergency medicine consults from outside hospitals
• Telehealth safety, privacy, and confidentiality issues.
Keywords: telehealth, telemedicine, pediatrics, virtual visits, pediatric subspecialties, digital health
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