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More Study Needed to Prove Telehealth's Worth



A shortage of intensivists, specialists, and physicians willing to take call is driving the growth of telehealth. So are advances in technology. But there's a lingering lack of concrete evidence that remote care is significantly better than care delivered in person.



4 comments on "More Study Needed to Prove Telehealth's Worth"
Debby Randall (4/13/2011 at 4:37 PM)

And I would add: if the patient's choice is for telehealth[over no care or delayed care] and it is a quality equivalent, there is no compelling reason that it has to be "superior" to the traditional method. So far, avoided hospitalizations and ER visits meet patient preferences and reduce costs, too. Deborah Randall JD
Jeff Johnson (4/13/2011 at 11:37 AM)

I find it interesting that the content of the article and evidence presented appear to support the use of telemedicine as an equally effective alternative but the title line and the last comment in the article do not.
Michael W Hurst (4/13/2011 at 10:32 AM)

Agree entirely with Ken Maddock that the standard does not need to be "better than", "equal" is entirely fine. And if one uses cost-effectiveness as well as clinical effectiveness, the comparison may weigh entirely in telemedicine's favor. The challenge is that hospitals and clinics are not necessarily the billable source of this care. For many patients in many circumstances, however, not having to travel with all its attendant costs is a major reduction in the barrier to receiving care in a timely fashion.
Ken Maddock (4/12/2011 at 4:36 PM)

"Still, there's that lingering lack of concrete evidence that remote care is significantly better than care delivered in person." Why does it have to be better if it is just as good and addresses the problem noted (a shortage of intensivists, specialists, and physicians willing to take call)?