Care Redesign to Support Telemedicine Implementation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Federally Qualified Health Center Personnel Experiences.

Publication date: Aug 30, 2023

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) rapidly adopted and implemented telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study analyzes FQHC personnel accounts of care redesign strategies to support telemedicine implementation in 2020 and 2021, and identifies improvement opportunities. We conducted semistructured, in-depth interviews with clinic personnel (n = 15) at 2 FQHCs in Northern California (December 2020-April 2021) to examine telemedicine adoption and use of audio-video and audio-only/phone telemedicine encounters. FQHC clinicians and staff reported that telemedicine implementation increased access to care and reduced appointment no-show rates. However, a reported reduced ability to develop and foster interpersonal connections negatively impacted clinician-patient relationships. Care redesign strategies included systems to triage appointment types (in-person versus virtual), work-arounds to screen for and address social and nonmedical needs, and new protocols to navigate privacy needs for first time telemedicine users. In addition, increasing remote monitoring capabilities was deemed an important priority for improving telemedicine use for marginalized populations. Telemedicine implementation in FQHCs involved care redesign to optimize virtual interactions and care processes. Guidelines and evidence-based practices are needed to improve telemedicine use in FQHCs, including strategies to support interpersonal connections; approaches to virtually screen for and address social needs; and protocols to further mitigate privacy issues. Future research is needed to identify when telemedicine can optimally supplement in-person care to improve patient outcomes and clinic efficiency, particularly in safety net settings.

Concepts Keywords
California Community Health Centers
Clinicians COVID-19
December Health Services Accessibility
Pandemic Implementation Science
Primary Health Care
Qualitative Research
Quality Improvement
Safety-Net Clinics


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
disease VO time
disease VO efficiency
disease IDO quality

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