The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragmentation of the healthcare delivery systems and highlighted the role of resilient primary healthcare systems for a robust public health response during health emergencies. Primary care while being the first point of contact between the citizens and the health systems has received scant attention or targeted investments over the past several decades. Through this narrative review, we aim to outline the potential role of telehealth in augmenting health systems capacity. While teleconsultations have increased exponentially during the pandemic, evidence suggests that utilisation of primary care for non-emergency and non-COVID-19 conditions such as chronic medical conditions has significantly decreased, suggesting that most telemedicine utilisation has been to address an immediate crisis. In countries with pre-existing national digital health framework and enabling regulatory environments, telehealth interventions while strengthening the public health response to COVID-19 also supported the continuum of care at the primary care level. Even after COVID-19 is controlled, telemedicine has the potential to address persistent obstacles to primary care in the South East Asia region, including scarcity of trained healthcare workers, access challenges and costs associated with in-person care. Telemedicine holds promise in strengthening primary care and has the potential to catalyse achieving universal health coverage.
- health care facilities
- and services
- health services research
Data availability statement
No data are available.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.