Transitioning to Telehealth Services in a Pediatric Diabetes Clinic During COVID-19: An Interdisciplinary Quality Improvement Initiative

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COVID-19 necessitated a rapid shift to telehealth for psychologists offering consultation-liaison services in pediatric medical settings. However, little is known about how psychologists providing these services adapted to using telehealth service delivery formats. This report details how our interdisciplinary team identified declining psychosocial screener completion and psychology consultation rates as primary challenges following a shift to telehealth within a pediatric diabetes clinic. We utilized the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) quality improvement framework to improve screening and consultation rates, which initially declined during the telehealth transition. Screening and consultation rates dropped initially, but recovered to nearly pre-pandemic levels following three PDSA intervention cycles. During implementation, challenges arose related to the feasibility of patient interactions, interdisciplinary collaboration, patient engagement, and ethical issues. Clinics shifting psychology consultation-liaison services to telehealth should prioritize interdisciplinary communication, elicit perspectives from all clinic professionals, leverage the electronic health record, and develop procedures for warm handoffs and navigating ethical issues.


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