Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2021 ) > List of Articles


Telehealth, Ultrasound, and the Physician of the Future

Diego De la Mora

Keywords : Graduate medical education, Obstetrics and gynecology, POCUS, Telehealth, Telemedicine, Ultrasound, Undergraduate medical education, Women's health

Citation Information : De la Mora D. Telehealth, Ultrasound, and the Physician of the Future. Donald School J Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2021; 15 (4):377-379.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10009-1827

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 31-12-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; The Author(s).


Aim and objective: In this article, we explore the current practices, challenges, and opportunities to the integration of telehealth in the field of ultrasonography for the education of the physician in the care of obstetrics and gynecology patients. Telemedicine and telehealth (TM/TH) have been used in obstetrics and gynecology primarily as an adjunct service to the usual care for encounters that require a minimal physical examination. Background: Telemedicine and telehealth are commonly interchangeable terms referring to the provision of clinical services at a distance. Before the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the United States (US) was seeing modest but significant growth in the use of TM/TH. The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated the implementation of TM/TH. Review results: Teleradiology, in particular, the use of asynchronous (i.e., store-and-forward) technology, is also used for maternal–fetal medicine consultations. Other TM/TH modalities such as fetal echocardiography, remote fetal monitoring, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) are slowly becoming more popular. Despite the ample benefits of TM/TH, undergraduate and graduate medical training on TM/TH and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) skills have been historically deficient. Multiple challenges remain for the expansion of TM/TH services including regulatory, reimbursement, and licensing policy. For the incorporation of ultrasound in TM/TH visits, a greater infrastructure is needed. Considerations for this infrastructure include rural broadband internet access and modernization of the information technology infrastructure capable of exchanging ultrasound images electronically in a secure and HIPPA-compliant interface. Conclusion: There is ample reason to remain optimistic about the future of TM/TH in the field of ultrasonography and clinical care for obstetrics and gynecology patients. To take advantage of these opportunities, it is imperative that the current challenges to the expansion of TM/TH, including the gaps in the medical education system, be addressed systematically. Clinical and Educational significance: Advances in POCUS, intelligent navigation, and teleoperated ultrasound technology provide a prospect of opportunities to advance TM/TH care while expanding educational opportunities. The most recent expansion of TM/TH after the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to launch TM/TH into a new level of market penetration, making the need for undergraduate and graduate medical education on TM/TH skills ever more relevant.

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