The COVID-19 pandemic has become an unprecedented facilitator of rapid telehealth expansion within rheumatology. Due to demographic shifts and workforce shortages in the future, new models of rheumatology care will be expected to emerge, with a growing footprint of telehealth interventions. Telehealth is already being used to monitor patients with rheumatic diseases and initial studies show good results in terms of safety and disease progression. It is being used as a tool for appointment prioritization and triage, and there is good evidence for using telehealth in rehabilitation, patient education and self-management interventions. Electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) offer a number of long-term benefits and opportunities, and a routine collection of ePROs also facilitates epidemiological research that can inform future healthcare delivery. Telehealth solutions should be developed in close collaboration with all stakeholders, and the option of a telehealth visit must not deprive patients of the possibility to make use of a conventional ‘face-to-face’ visit. Future studies should especially focus on optimal models for rheumatology healthcare delivery to patients living in remote areas who are unable to use or access computer technology, and other patient groups at risk for disparity due to technical inequity and lack of knowledge.
- health services research
- remote care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine