Appl Clin Inform 2021; 12(04): 864-876
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1735181
Review Article

Opportunities and Challenges of Telehealth in Disease Management during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review

1   Health Information Management, Health Information Technology Department, Health Promotion Research Center, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran
2   Department of Health Information Technology, Faculty of Para-Medicine, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran
› Author Affiliations


Objective The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an unexpected universal problem that has changed health care access across the world. Telehealth is an effective solution for health care delivery during disasters and public health emergencies. This study was conducted to summarize the opportunities and challenges of using telehealth in health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods A structured search was performed in the Web of Science, PubMed, Science Direct, and Scopus databases, as well as the Google Scholar search engine, for studies published until November 4, 2020. The reviewers analyzed 112 studies and identified opportunities and challenges. This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) protocols. Quality appraisal was done according to the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) version 2018. Thematic analysis was applied for data analysis.

Results A total of 112 unique opportunities of telehealth application during the pandemic were categorized into 4 key themes, such as (1) clinical, (2) organizational, (3) technical, and (4) social, which were further divided into 11 initial themes and 26 unique concepts. Furthermore, 106 unique challenges were categorized into 6 key themes, such as (1) legal, (2) clinical, (3) organizational, (40 technical, (5) socioeconomic, and (6) data quality, which were divided into 16 initial themes and 37 unique concepts altogether. The clinical opportunities and legal challenges were the most frequent opportunities and challenges, respectively.

Conclusion The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the use of telehealth. This study could offer useful information to policymakers about the opportunities and challenges of implementing telehealth for providing accessible, safe, and efficient health care delivery to the patient population during and after COVID-19. Furthermore, it can assist policymakers to make informed decisions on implementing telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing the obstacles ahead.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

No human subjects were involved in the project.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 06 March 2021

Accepted: 15 July 2021

Article published online:
15 September 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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