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Telemedicine - is the cart being put before the horse?

Nigel R Armfield, Sisira K Edirippulige, Natalie Bradford and Anthony C Smith
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (9): 530-533. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11101

Summary

  • A large literature base on telemedicine exists, but the evidence base for telemedicine is very limited. There is little practical or useful information to guide clinicians and health policymakers.
  • Telemedicine is often implemented based on limited or no prior formal analysis of its appropriateness to the circumstances, and adoption of telemedicine by clinicians has been slow and patchy.
  • Formal analysis should be conducted before implementation of telemedicine to identify the patients, conditions and settings that it is likely to benefit.
  • Primary studies of telemedicine tend to be of insufficient quality to enable synthesis of formal evidence.
  • Methods typically used to assess effectiveness in medicine are often difficult, expensive or impractical to apply to telemedicine.
  • Formal studies of telemedicine should examine efficacy, effectiveness, economics and clinician preferences.
  • Successful adoption and sustainable integration of telemedicine into routine care could be improved by evidence-based implementation.

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  • Nigel R Armfield1,2
  • Sisira K Edirippulige1
  • Natalie Bradford1,0,2
  • Anthony C Smith1,2

  • 1 Centre for Online Health, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Queensland Children's Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD.

Correspondence: N.R.Armfield@uq.edu.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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