Telemedicine Education Amidst COVID-19: Review of Literature and Call to Action

Document Type : Original Article


New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro Arkansas, USA


Background: In the presence of COVID-19, telemedicine is being utilized to limit person-to person spread. Unfortunately, despite this increase in utilization, the amount of training provided to healthcare professionals has not increased with it creating a gap between user and machine.  To combat this problem, the American Medical Association has called for an increase in formalized training for telemedicine. The purpose of this literature review is to provide more recent examples of telemedicine education techniques in order to close this training gap and give providers the tools they need to succeed in the new COVID-19 world.
Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective literature review in the United States during April through June of 2020 by searching the PubMed (MEDLINE) database for publications pertaining to telemedicine education and training. After review, 10 pieces of literature were analyzed for methods and skills taught in telemedicine, means to assess competency as well as future directions. 
Results: This study identified a broad scope of skills to be taught from orientation to technology, to patient interaction methods, as well as the current medico-legal guidelines. Using standardized assessments and being supervised by trained physicians, there is a role for telemedicine to be incorporated into formal curricula.
Conclusions: While it is accepted that telemedicine increases access to care, this does not translate to an increase in quality of care. One of the ways to close that gap is by optimizing training. This work provides examples of how telemedicine can be incorporated across all healthcare disciplines.