Abstract: Background and objective The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital health applications in multifaceted disease management dimensions. This study aims (1) to identify risk issues relating to the rapid development and redeployment of COVID-19 related e-health systems, in primary care, and in the health ecosystems interacting with it and (2) to suggest evidence-based evaluation directions under emergency response. Method After initial brainstorming of digital health risks posed in this pandemic, a scoping review method was adopted to collect evidence across databases of PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE. Peer-review publications, reports, news sources, and websites that credibly identified the challenges relating digital health scaled for COVID-19 were scrutinized. Additional supporting materials were obtained through snowball sampling and the authors’ global digital health networks. Studies satisfying the selection criteria were charted based on their study design, primary care focus, and coverage of e-health areas of risk. Results Fifty-eight studies were mapped for qualitative synthesis. Five identified digital health risk areas associated with the pandemic were governance, system design and coordination, information access, service provision, and user (professional and public) reception. We observed that rapid digital health responses may embed challenges in health system thinking, the long-term development of digital health ecosystems, and interoperability of health IT infrastructure, with concomitant weaknesses in existing evaluation theories. Conclusion Through identifying digital health risks posed during the pandemic, this paper discussed potential directions for next-generation informatics evaluation development, to better prepare for the post-COVID-19 era, a new future epidemic, or other unforeseen global health emergencies. An updated evidence-based approach to health informatics is essential to gain public confidence in digital health across primary and other health sectors.
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