Purpose of review
In the context of the rising incidence and complexity of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), telehealth offers new ways to support remote and efficient delivery of healthcare services. The aim of this review is to assess the current status of telehealth services in the management of IBD and challenges to adopting telehealth in clinical practice.
Different modalities of telehealth such as virtual clinics and remote patient monitoring have been studied in many IBD centers. They are found to be associated with high patient acceptance, decreased healthcare costs, improved quality of life, treatment adherence, and disease knowledge among patients. The major challenges encountered in the integration of telemedicine into clinical practice include risks to patient privacy and confidentiality, requirement for informed consent, lack of uniform reimbursement policies, operational difficulties, provider acceptance, and licensing.
Telehealth is an effective, efficient, and low-cost intervention that can address increasingly complex care of patients with IBD. However, for telemedicine to be adopted widely, new policies and reforms need to reduce the burden of physician licensing in multiple states, allow for receipt of all telehealth services in the patient's home or office, and require reimbursement for services on par with an office visit.