Here’s what primary care clinicians say they need to effectively implement telehealth

Primary care providers in New York City, one of the U.S. epicenters of the COVID-19 crisis, were some of the first to feel the brunt of the disease’s effects. With patients afraid to seek care in person and social distancing necessitating as little face-to-face contact as possible, many clinicians pivoted to telehealth – some with more success than others. 

“It made sense that all eyes were on the hospitals, because they were overwhelmed with sick patients,” said Dr. Donna R. Shelley, a professor in the Department of Policy and Public Health Management at the New York University School of Global Public Health. “But primary care doctors are the front line of healthcare in this country, and their patients still needed care.” 

In partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Equitable Health Systems, the research team surveyed hundreds of area primary care providers from April to July about the impact of COVID-19 on their practices.

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Their findings, published this past week in Health Affairs, demonstrate the positive impact that temporary federal changes to telehealth-related regulations have had on virtual care