Telemedicine for the Medicare population: update

Hersh W R, Hickam D H, Severance S M, Dana T L, Krages K P, Helfand M
Record ID 32006000172
Authors' objectives:

The goal of this report was to assess the peer-reviewed literature for telemedicine services that substitute for face-to-face medical diagnosis and treatment that may apply to the Medicare population. We focused on three distinct areas: store-and-forward, home-based, and office/hospital-based services. We also sought to identify what progress had been made in expanding the evidence base since the publication of our initial report in 2001 (AHRQ Publication No. 01-E012.)

Authors' results and conclusions: Store-and-forward services have been studied in many specialties, the most prominent being dermatology, wound care, and ophthalmology. The evidence for their efficacy is mixed, and in most areas, there are not corresponding studies on outcomes or improved access to care. Several limited studies showed the benefits of home-based telemedicine interventions in chronic diseases. These interventions appear to enhance communication with health care providers and provide closer monitoring of general health, but the studies of these techniques were conducted in settings that required additional resources and dedicated staff. Studies of office/hospital-based telemedicine suggest that telemedicine is most effective for verbal interactions, e.g., videoconferencing for diagnosis and treatment in specialties like neurology and psychiatry.
Authors' recomendations: There are still significant gaps in the evidence base between where telemedicine is used and where its use is supported by high-quality evidence. Further well-designed and targeted research that provides high-quality data will provide a strong contribution to understanding how best to deploy technological resources in health care.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2006
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Medicare
  • Remote Consultation
  • Telemedicine
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
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Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.