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Emerging Alternatives to Conventional Clinic Visits in the Era of COVID-19: Adoption of Telehealth at VCU Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center

Authors Womack C, Farsin R, Farsad M, Chaudary N

Received 20 August 2020

Accepted for publication 29 October 2020

Published 17 November 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1175—1186

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S274193

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Caitlin Womack, Ruhan Farsin, Mahsa Farsad, Nauman Chaudary

Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Correspondence: Caitlin Womack; Nauman Chaudary Email womackce@mymail.vcu.edu; nauman.chaudary@vcuhealth.org

Abstract: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease in which consistent follow-up care is required to avoid a decline in pulmonary and nutritional health. It is believed that if a CF patient ceases treatment for 2 days, this can result in an exacerbation. One week of missed treatments can result in a hospitalization and 1 month of missed treatments can result in an earlier demise. With a global pandemic that has affected more than 9 million people, many CF clinics were required to take steps to avoid transmission of this dangerous virus. This may result in delays in delivery of timely CF care due to closure of clinics and pulmonary function testing (PFT) laboratories and limited staff allowed on site for conducting in-person visits. These measures, along with suggestions from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) to extend the social distancing longer than traditional CDC recommendations for the CF community, create an urgent need to explore novel ways to deliver safer care via new standards in chronic health conditions like CF. Especially, as these preventive strategies may be necessary for long-term maintenance, few objective alternatives exist to guide clinicians and allied health professionals in CF centers how to proceed in this new era. This also presents an opportunity for novel approaches that could improve delivery of CF care with remote monitoring and real-time delivery of care in patients’ home environments. Such emerging approaches could benefit patient care, leading to reduced costs and readmissions and improved access to care, medication adherence, and patient communication. We summarize our own experience and discuss the emerging delivery of CF care which can be generalizable to other pulmonary illnesses.

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, telehealth, cystic fibrosis

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