Telehealth in Primary Healthcare: A Portrait of its Rapid Implementation during the COVID-19 Pandemic Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective

    This study documents the adoption of telehealth by various types of primary healthcare (PHC) providers working in teaching PHC clinics in Quebec during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also identifies the perceived advantages and disadvantages of telehealth.


    A cross-sectional study was conducted between May and August 2020. The e-survey was completed by 48/50 teaching primary care clinics representing 603/1,357 (44%) PHC providers.


    Telephone use increased the most, becoming the principal virtual modality of consultation, during the pandemic. Video consultations increased, with variations by type of PHC provider: between 2% and 16% reported using it "sometimes." The main perceived advantages of telehealth were minimizing the patient's need to travel, improved efficiency and reduction in infection transmission risk. The main disadvantages were the lack of physical exam and difficulties connecting with some patients.


    The variation in telehealth adoption by type of PHC provider may inform strategies to maximize the potential of telehealth and help create guidelines for its use in more normal times.


  • Breton, Mylaine
  • Deville-Stoetzel, Nadia
  • Gaboury, Isabelle
  • Smithman, Mélanie
  • Kaczorowski, Janusz
  • Lussier, Marie-Thérèse
  • Haggerty, Jeannie
  • Motulsky, Aude
  • Nugus, Peter
  • Layani, Géraldine
  • Paré, Guy
  • Evoy, Gabrielle
  • Arsenault, Mylène
  • Paquette, Jean-Sébastien
  • Quinty, Julien
  • Authier, Marie
  • Mokraoui, Nadjib
  • Luc, Mireille
  • Lavoie, Marie-Eve

publication date

  • August 10, 2021