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      Telehealth: Is It Only for the Rural Areas? A Review of Its Wider Use

      Telehealth and Medicine Today
      Partners in Digital Health
      Cost Saving, Innovation, Patient Care, Technical Resources, Telehealth

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          Telehealth (also known as telemedicine, digital medicine) is a relatively new concept in healthcare provision, which is perceived as a useful mode of managing patients at remote locations. As this technology evolves, the need arises to explore telehealth as part of holistic care. Much literature on telehealth is available but most are specialty-based or focus on one or two aspects of care provision. This article focuses on the four main building blocks of telehealth: perception by healthcare staff, perception by patients, quality of Internet and technology, and cost effectiveness based on 2 years of published literature.

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          Evaluating barriers to adopting telemedicine worldwide: A systematic review

          Introduction and objective Studies on telemedicine have shown success in reducing the geographical and time obstacles incurred in the receipt of care in traditional modalities with the same or greater effectiveness; however, there are several barriers that need to be addressed in order for telemedicine technology to spread. The aim of this review is to evaluate barriers to adopting telemedicine worldwide through the analysis of published work. Methods The authors conducted a systematic literature review by extracting the data from the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and PubMed (MEDLINE) research databases. The reviewers in this study analysed 30 articles (nine from CINAHL and 21 from Medline) and identified barriers found in the literature. This review followed the checklist from Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2009. The reviewers organized the results into one table and five figures that depict the data in different ways, organized by: barrier, country-specific barriers, organization-specific barriers, patient-specific barriers, and medical-staff and programmer-specific barriers. Results The reviewers identified 33 barriers with a frequency of 100 occurrences through the 30 articles. The study identified the issues with technically challenged staff (11%), followed by resistance to change (8%), cost (8%), reimbursement (5%), age of patient (5%), and level of education of patient (5%). All other barriers occurred at or less than 4% of the time. Discussion and conclusions Telemedicine is not yet ubiquitous, and barriers vary widely. The top barriers are technology-specific and could be overcome through training, change-management techniques, and alternating delivery by telemedicine and personal patient-to-provider interaction. The results of this study identify several barriers that could be eliminated by focused policy. Future work should evaluate policy to identify which one to lever to maximize the results.
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            Mobile Devices and Health

            Ida Sim (2019)
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              The Cost-Effectiveness of Digital Health Interventions on the Management of Cardiovascular Diseases: Systematic Review

              Background With the advancement in information technology and mobile internet, digital health interventions (DHIs) are improving the care of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The impact of DHIs on cost-effective management of CVDs has been examined using the decision analytic model–based health technology assessment approach. Objective The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the decision analytic model–based studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness of DHIs on the management of CVDs. Methods A literature review was conducted in Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Complete, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, Center for Review and Dissemination, and Institute for IEEE Xplore between 2001 and 2018. Studies were included if the following criteria were met: (1) English articles, (2) DHIs that promoted or delivered clinical interventions and had an impact on patients’ cardiovascular conditions, (3) studies that were modeling works with health economic outcomes of DHIs for CVDs, (4) studies that had a comparative group for assessment, and (5) full economic evaluations including a cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and cost-consequence analysis. The primary outcome collected was the cost-effectiveness of the DHIs, presented by incremental cost per additional quality-adjusted life year (QALY). The quality of each included study was evaluated using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards. Results A total of 14 studies met the defined criteria and were included in the review. Among the included studies, heart failure (7/14, 50%) and stroke (4/14, 29%) were two of the most frequent CVDs that were managed by DHIs. A total of 9 (64%) studies were published between 2015 and 2018 and 5 (36%) published between 2011 and 2014. The time horizon was ≤1 year in 3 studies (21%), >1 year in 10 studies (71%), and 1 study (7%) did not declare the time frame. The types of devices or technologies used to deliver the health interventions were short message service (1/14, 7%), telephone support (1/14, 7%), mobile app (1/14, 7%), video conferencing system (5/14, 36%), digital transmission of physiologic data (telemonitoring; 5/14, 36%), and wearable medical device (1/14, 7%). The DHIs gained higher QALYs with cost saving in 43% (6/14) of studies and gained QALYs at a higher cost at acceptable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in 57% (8/14) of studies. The studies were classified as excellent (0/14, 0%), good (9/14, 64%), moderate (4/14, 29%), and low (1/14, 7%) quality. Conclusions This study is the first systematic review of decision analytic model–based cost-effectiveness analyses of DHIs in the management of CVDs. Most of the identified studies were published recently, and the majority of the studies were good quality cost-effectiveness analyses with an adequate duration of time frame. All the included studies found the DHIs to be cost-effective.

                Author and article information

                Telehealth and Medicine Today
                Partners in Digital Health
                30 January 2020
                : 5
                : 10.30953/tmt.v5.162
                Folly Lane Medical Centre, Warrington, Cheshire, UK
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Sadat Muzammil, sadatmuzammil@ 123456doctors.org.uk
                © 2020 Sadat Muzammil

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, adapt, enhance this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial.

                Narrative/Systematic Reviews/Meta-Analysis

                Social & Information networks,General medicine,General life sciences,Health & Social care,Public health,Hardware architecture
                Technical Resources,Patient Care,Cost Saving,Telehealth,Innovation


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