Rapid Telehealth Implementation during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic: A Rapid Review
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The implementation and continued expansion of telehealth services assists a variety of health care organizations in the delivery of care during the current COVID-19 global pandemic. However, limited research has been conducted on recent, rapid telehealth implementation and expansion initiatives regarding facilitators and barriers surrounding the provision of quality patient care. Our rapid review evaluated the literature specific to rapid telehealth implementation during the current COVID-19 pandemic from three research databases between January 2020 and May 2020 and reported using preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA). The results indicate the rapid implementation and enhanced use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States surrounding the facilitators and barriers to the provision of patient care, which are categorized into three identified themes: (1) descriptive process-oriented implementations, (2) the interpretation and infusion of the CARES Act of 2020 telehealth exemptions related to the relaxation of patient privacy and security (HIPAA) protocols, and (3) the standard of care protocols and experiences addressing organizational liability and the standard of care. While the study limitation of sample size exists (n = 21), an identification of rapid telehealth implementation advancements and challenges during the current pandemic may assist health care organizations in the delivery of ongoing quality care during the COVID-19 pandemic.