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Telehealth in the time of COVID-19
  1. Aditi U. Joshi1,
  2. Resa E Lewiss2
  1. 1 Emergency Medicine, JeffConnect, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aditi U. Joshi, Emergency Medicine, JeffConnect, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA; aditi.joshi{at}


Telehealth or using technology for a remote medical encounter has become an efficient solution for safe patient care during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or COVID-19 pandemic. This medium allows patient immediate healthcare access without the need for an in-person visit. We designed a time-sensitive, practical, effective and innovative scale-up of telehealth services as a response to the demand for COVID-19 evaluation and testing. As more patients made appointments through the institution’s telehealth programme, we increased the number of clinicians available. JeffConnect, the acute care telehealth programme, was expanded to increase staffing from a standing staff of 37–187 doctors within 72 hours. Telehealth care clinicians primarily trained in emergency medicine, internal medicine and family medicine followed a patient decision pathway to risk stratify patients into three groups: home quarantine no testing, home quarantine with outpatient COVID-19 testing and referral for in-person evaluation in the ED, for symptomatic and potentially unstable patients.

  • emergency departments
  • disaster planning and response

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  • Handling editor Simon Carley

  • Twitter @RELewiss

  • Contributors Both authors (AJ and REL) planned, wrote and edited the submitted manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.