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Flattening the infection curve – understanding the role of telehealth in managing COVID-19

Higor Leite (School of Management and Economics, Biomedical Engineering Postgraduate Research Programme, Federal University of Technology Paraná – Brazil, Curitiba, Brazil)
Thorsten Gruber (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Ian R. Hodgkinson (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 23 April 2020

Issue publication date: 23 April 2020




This paper aims to discuss the strategic role of telehealth technologies in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.


This is a viewpoint paper, based on opportune information published and discussed by scholars and managers from different sources; the authors gathered this information to discuss the implications of telehealth during the outbreak.


Based on examples and benchmarking, the authors found that it is possible to lean on telehealth technologies as a frontline ally to avoid the spread of the virus by tracking, testing and treating (3T’s model).

Research limitations/implications

Together with information published on COVID-19, the authors present their critical observations on the use of telehealth. However, the authors acknowledge that there are restrictions on the use of new technologies in health-care practices that were not addressed by this paper, and they suggest further research to address this limitation.

Practical implications

Governments, health-care organizations and managers are encouraged to take advantage of the information published in this paper. One of the benefits of telehealth is the possibility of bringing patients and physicians together virtually, without the need for physical contact. Henceforth, the authors suggest a more comprehensive implementation of best practices from telehealth to relieve congested health-care facilities and to avoid the risk of further infection.

Social implications

The economic and social impacts of the virus are considered unprecedented by governments worldwide. Therefore, the authors advocate that telehealth practices embedded in health-care practices relieve the pressure that naturally arise during this type of critical event.


In this timely paper, the authors provide invaluable information related to the impact of telehealth technologies on flattening the infection curve of COVID-19.



The authors would like to acknowledge the generosity of reviewers for the opportunity to write to the leadership in health services readership about the role of telemedicine in managing COVID-19 pandemic, Loughborough University’s Centre for Service Management and the Federal University of Technology Paraná’s Biomedical Engineering Postgraduate Research Programme for the support which has been invaluable in putting this theme together.


Leite, H., Gruber, T. and Hodgkinson, I.R. (2020), "Flattening the infection curve – understanding the role of telehealth in managing COVID-19", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 221-226.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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