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A systematic review of economic analyses of telehealth services using real time video communication.

Wade VA, Karnon J, Elshaug AG, Hiller JE - BMC Health Serv Res (2010)

Bottom Line: Cost analyses, non-comparative studies and those where patient satisfaction was the only health outcome were excluded. 36 articles met the inclusion criteria. 22(61%) of the studies found telehealth to be less costly than the non-telehealth alternative, 11(31%) found greater costs and 3 (9%) gave the same or mixed results. 23 of the studies took the perspective of the health services, 12 were societal, and one was from the patient perspective.In regard to health outcomes, 12 (33%) of studies found improved health outcomes, 21 (58%) found outcomes were not significantly different, 2(6%) found that telehealth was less effective, and 1 (3%) found outcomes differed according to patient group.Delivery of health services by real time video communication was cost-effective for home care and access to on-call hospital specialists, showed mixed results for rural service delivery, and was not cost-effective for local delivery of services between hospitals and primary care.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Discipline of Public Health, The University of Adelaide, North Tce, Adelaide 5005, Australia. victoria.wade@adelaide.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: Telehealth is the delivery of health care at a distance, using information and communication technology. The major rationales for its introduction have been to decrease costs, improve efficiency and increase access in health care delivery. This systematic review assesses the economic value of one type of telehealth delivery--synchronous or real time video communication--rather than examining a heterogeneous range of delivery modes as has been the case with previous reviews in this area.

Methods: A systematic search was undertaken for economic analyses of the clinical use of telehealth, ending in June 2009. Studies with patient outcome data and a non-telehealth comparator were included. Cost analyses, non-comparative studies and those where patient satisfaction was the only health outcome were excluded.

Results: 36 articles met the inclusion criteria. 22(61%) of the studies found telehealth to be less costly than the non-telehealth alternative, 11(31%) found greater costs and 3 (9%) gave the same or mixed results. 23 of the studies took the perspective of the health services, 12 were societal, and one was from the patient perspective. In three studies of telehealth to rural areas, the health services paid more for telehealth, but due to savings in patient travel, the societal perspective demonstrated cost savings. In regard to health outcomes, 12 (33%) of studies found improved health outcomes, 21 (58%) found outcomes were not significantly different, 2(6%) found that telehealth was less effective, and 1 (3%) found outcomes differed according to patient group. The organisational model of care was more important in determining the value of the service than the clinical discipline, the type of technology, or the date of the study.

Conclusion: Delivery of health services by real time video communication was cost-effective for home care and access to on-call hospital specialists, showed mixed results for rural service delivery, and was not cost-effective for local delivery of services between hospitals and primary care.

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Flow chart of study inclusions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 1: Flow chart of study inclusions.

Mentions: The reference lists of 24 review articles that were entirely or in part about the economic analysis of telehealth were searched, and did not produce any additional studies that met the criteria. A flow chart of exclusions is shown in Figure 1


A systematic review of economic analyses of telehealth services using real time video communication.

Wade VA, Karnon J, Elshaug AG, Hiller JE - BMC Health Serv Res (2010)

Flow chart of study inclusions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2927589&req=5

Figure 1: Flow chart of study inclusions.
Mentions: The reference lists of 24 review articles that were entirely or in part about the economic analysis of telehealth were searched, and did not produce any additional studies that met the criteria. A flow chart of exclusions is shown in Figure 1

Bottom Line: Cost analyses, non-comparative studies and those where patient satisfaction was the only health outcome were excluded. 36 articles met the inclusion criteria. 22(61%) of the studies found telehealth to be less costly than the non-telehealth alternative, 11(31%) found greater costs and 3 (9%) gave the same or mixed results. 23 of the studies took the perspective of the health services, 12 were societal, and one was from the patient perspective.In regard to health outcomes, 12 (33%) of studies found improved health outcomes, 21 (58%) found outcomes were not significantly different, 2(6%) found that telehealth was less effective, and 1 (3%) found outcomes differed according to patient group.Delivery of health services by real time video communication was cost-effective for home care and access to on-call hospital specialists, showed mixed results for rural service delivery, and was not cost-effective for local delivery of services between hospitals and primary care.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Discipline of Public Health, The University of Adelaide, North Tce, Adelaide 5005, Australia. victoria.wade@adelaide.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: Telehealth is the delivery of health care at a distance, using information and communication technology. The major rationales for its introduction have been to decrease costs, improve efficiency and increase access in health care delivery. This systematic review assesses the economic value of one type of telehealth delivery--synchronous or real time video communication--rather than examining a heterogeneous range of delivery modes as has been the case with previous reviews in this area.

Methods: A systematic search was undertaken for economic analyses of the clinical use of telehealth, ending in June 2009. Studies with patient outcome data and a non-telehealth comparator were included. Cost analyses, non-comparative studies and those where patient satisfaction was the only health outcome were excluded.

Results: 36 articles met the inclusion criteria. 22(61%) of the studies found telehealth to be less costly than the non-telehealth alternative, 11(31%) found greater costs and 3 (9%) gave the same or mixed results. 23 of the studies took the perspective of the health services, 12 were societal, and one was from the patient perspective. In three studies of telehealth to rural areas, the health services paid more for telehealth, but due to savings in patient travel, the societal perspective demonstrated cost savings. In regard to health outcomes, 12 (33%) of studies found improved health outcomes, 21 (58%) found outcomes were not significantly different, 2(6%) found that telehealth was less effective, and 1 (3%) found outcomes differed according to patient group. The organisational model of care was more important in determining the value of the service than the clinical discipline, the type of technology, or the date of the study.

Conclusion: Delivery of health services by real time video communication was cost-effective for home care and access to on-call hospital specialists, showed mixed results for rural service delivery, and was not cost-effective for local delivery of services between hospitals and primary care.

Show MeSH