The Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA) has drawn attention to six categories where telemedicine can be applied in order to help increase access to patient care for infectious diseases. This was declared in the organization’s statement published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
These are the six categories for telemedicine that the ISDA supports to expand infectious diseases care:
1. Antimicrobial stewardship programs:
Telemedicine platforms can be utilized to provide community hospitals with educational opportunities regarding stewardship, provide case consultation and review antimicrobial use with feedback, among other capabilities.
2. HIV management:
Both telemedicine and mobile health interventions, such as text messages, can be used to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy.
3. Outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy:
To reduce patient’s risk of hospital readmission from drug toxicities, new infections and treatment failure, telemedicine-powered OPAT visits can eliminate patients’ travel costs, improve outcomes, reduce clinic no-show rates and improve patient satisfaction.
4. Tuberculosis management:
An electronic directly observed treatment strategy can be implemented, which may help reduce burdens of time and travel required for standard DOT treatment.
5. Infection prevention and control (IPC):
IPC is a national priority. Thus, healthcare facilities lacking expertise in IPC practices can use telehealth platforms to connect infectious diseases physicians with local providers. This allows the specialist to assist and educate on policy development, healthcare-associated infection surveillance, infection recognition and antibiotic use monitoring, among other capabilities.
6. Connecting providers:
Subspecialist care in rural and undeserved areas can be improved through telemedicine models for clinical mentorship. These models can be applied to bring together clinicians and non-clinicians, such as case managers and health departments.
Telehealth and telemedicine technologies are beneficial in providing up-to-date, timely and cost-effective care to resource-limited populations.