Diagnosis and Telemedicine

Identifying the Must-Know Research Questions for Safe and Effective Telediagnosis

About the Project

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Although telemedicine has been available for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed its usage overnight. From being a niche resource or a convenient alternative for a small group of patients, remote visits using telemedicine resources have become the mainstay for healthcare delivery today across the nation, a reality that may well continue long after the COVID pandemic has been controlled.

The use of telemedicine for diagnosis, now called “telediagnosis” or “TeleDx”, at this scale is unprecedented and creates a pressing need to understand the implications of this transformation on the quality and safety of diagnosis. As healthcare delivery, and diagnosis specifically, is turned on its head through the use of telemedicine, what impact will this have on diagnostic accuracy and timeliness? Will TeleDx lead to even more diagnostic errors, or can it be leveraged to achieve a newer, more favorable climate for diagnosis that facilitates the diagnostic process and results in better care with fewer errors? To navigate this new era of TeleDx, we need research that can help identify the best methods for providing a diagnosis virtually, including an understanding of how to appropriately triage patients with new complaints and determine when virtual diagnosis is feasible or when an in-person visit is warranted.

Through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute COVID-19 Special Cycle Engagement Award, the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) is serving as the neutral convener for a multi-stakeholder, multimodal effort to prioritize and prepare for the research most needed by the diagnostic quality and TeleDx communities. Joined by an esteemed Advisory Team including representatives from SIDM’s Patient Engagement Committee, WomenHeart, Sepsis Alliance, American Telemedicine Association, Advocate Aurora Health, Council of Medical Specialty Societies, Digital Medicine Society, Teladoc Health and others, SIDM conducted an environmental scan of available literature and existing resources, and is hosting a series of five virtual listening sessions to identify the TeleDx questions most in need of study and research funding. The findings from each listening session will be summarized and contextualized in a summary document, and the full body of findings will be discussed in a webinar at the conclusion of the project in May, 2021.

The listening sessions are organized according to stakeholder group and in each case, the discussion will center on the main challenges and best facilitators for adoption and use of TeleDx, and the key learnings and tools for most effective deployment of TeleDx. Collectively, the project findings are intended to:

  • Help PCORI prioritize research and funding;
  • Support patients to use TeleDx resources easily and effectively;
  • Help health services researchers identify those questions most in need of study;
  • Help educators clarify what education content would be most valuable;
  • Help clinicians optimize their own diagnostic processes and interact more effectively with their patients at a distance; and
  • Help healthcare organizations with strategic planning and telehealth implementation.

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This project was funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (EAIN-00177).

Listening Session Summary Documents

Conversations with Hospitals,
Health Systems & Clinical Practices

Conversations with