The escalating prevalence of chronic diseases coupled with an ageing population is leading to a significant surge in demand for continuous home and institutional care. With professional resources in Québec becoming increasingly limited, virtual care tools have emerged as a crucial solution to ensure access to care and services. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of virtual care tools, promoting continuity of care when in-person visits became risky or impossible. These tools, ranging from telemonitoring to teleconsultation, are becoming integral to the evaluation, treatment, and follow-up of patients in specialty medicine, including respirology. Virtual Care Modalities in Respirology Primarily, virtual care modalities are being used to improve access to health care and foster patient engagement in managing their illness. For instance, telemonitoring is the most studied intervention in all the care pathways examined, with a positive impact reported in patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma. Telemonitoring, the most studied intervention, has shown positive effects in COPD and asthma patients.
The potential of virtual care is vast. It can reduce symptoms of disease, decrease anxiety, improve disease management, and enhance the quality of life for patients. Furthermore, it can support primary care physicians in diagnosing diseases like COPD and asthma, thereby preventing misdiagnosis. Challenges and Future Directions Despite the promising results, there is a need for more high-quality studies to further explore the efficacy of virtual care interventions. Areas that need further investigation include the long-term efficacy of virtual care in terms of medication adherence and the use of virtual care for diseases like cystic fibrosis and chronic respiratory failure. In conclusion, the most studied care pathway for the use of virtual care in respirology is for COPD, with telemonitoring being the most frequently used modality. As we continue to navigate the digital health landscape, the revolution of the respirology field is set to occur through the integration of virtual care modalities into care pathways.
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