Perfecting the ‘new normal’ in health care: VCU Wright Center funds telehealth research
As the pandemic brings potentially lasting change to every corner of society, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers are working to capture data around one of the most ubiquitous changes to emerge from the health care world.
Telehealth — where doctors and patients are distant from one another, connected through digital means — can mean anything from a brief phone call to an urgent video conference. Many health care systems went from doing very little of it to integrating it into almost all aspects of care during the pandemic.
“Telehealth is here to stay,” said Peter Buckley, M.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine. “But there are gaps in knowledge and questions about it that can and should be studied so that health care providers have guidance and best practices to follow.”
Two researchers will soon answer some of those questions with the help of awards from VCU’s COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity. The fund, led by the VCU Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation with support from the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, awarded nearly $350,000 in funding last spring to 31 VCU research projects that seek to address the impact of the coronavirus.
“We’re seeing a tragic number of excess deaths during the pandemic, partly due to people delaying medical care,” Buckley said. “Telehealth can be a lifeline for patients and doctors — to bridge that gap in care. These researchers will help us understand whether it works, how it works and how we can improve it.”