Use of Telemedicine in the Management of Viral Respiratory Disease Epidemics (SARS, MERS, Influenza, and COVID-19): A Review

Sadrieh Hajesmaeel Gohari, Elaheh Shafiei, Kambiz Bahaadinbeigy



Introduction: The epidemic of viral respiratory diseases in the last 20 years has affected many people around the world. In these situations, telemedicine may reduce unnecessary contacts and the risk of exposure to infection. This study aimed to review the papers performed to manage viral respiratory disease epidemics using telemedicine. 

Material and Methods: The PubMed and Scopus databases were searched in May 2020 for this systematic review study. Data were extracted from the final included papers based on the author, country, type of epidemic, telemedicine modality, telecommunication method, objective, participants, clinical outcome, cost, and satisfaction. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.

Results: From 365 retrieved papers, 18 papers were included. Most of the papers were done in the US and China (67%). Half of the papers were done during the COVID-19 pandemic. Real-time modality was used in 78% of the papers. The telecommunication method in half of the papers was internet-based. Patients’ management and treatment was the main objective of the six papers. In 81% of the teleconsultation papers, the consultation was performed between patients and healthcare providers. The clinical outcome of all papers showed that telemedicine was successful in the management of viral respiratory disease epidemics. Cost and satisfaction outcomes were considered in a few papers. 

Conclusion: There is considerable evidence to show that telemedicine is a useful and convenient method to manage and control viral respiratory disease epidemics. Therefore, countries should pay special attention to telemedicine to control the current pandemic and future epidemics and use it extensively.


Telemedicine; Epidemics; Management; SARS; MERS; Influenza; COVID-19


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