A scoping review of the ethical issues within telemedicine: Lessons from COVID-19 pandemic

Jun Xu*, Abbygale Willging, Katrina A. Bramstedt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The use of telemedicine in medicine to reach remote patient populations, monitor chronic disease states, and prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus results in a needed pause for reflection on the ethical issues brought forth by e-health technology. The aim of this scoping review was to consolidate the main ethical concerns in telemedicine into a framework that can be used to guide training, policies, and further research as these platforms are implemented. 

Methods: Two scoping searches were performed using Medline and Google Scholar for publications that address the ethical implications in telemedicine within the last 25 years. Protocol for Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) was followed. 

Results: We compiled 20 articles published across the world in various contexts of telemedicine (i.e., pilot studies, literature review, chronic disease reports, etc.). Our literature review noted 4 areas of ethical concern: Confidentiality, accessibility, effectiveness, and patient-physician relationship. 

Conclusion: The success of telemedicine is dependent on patient selection and adaptability. The use of telemedicine must be accompanied by clinician competency training that addresses technology issues such as privacy and security, informed consent, observation using remote technology, and strategies to determine which patients are or are not suited for the platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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