Can economic evaluation in telemedicine be trusted A systematic review of the literatureReport as inadecuate

Can economic evaluation in telemedicine be trusted A systematic review of the literature - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation

, 7:18

First Online: 24 October 2009Received: 27 April 2009Accepted: 24 October 2009


BackgroundTelemedicine has been advocated as an effective means to provide health care services over a distance. Systematic information on costs and consequences has been called for to support decision-making in this field. This paper provides a review of the quality, validity and generalisability of economic evaluations in telemedicine.

MethodsA systematic literature search in all relevant databases was conducted and forms the basis for addressing these issues. Only articles published in peer-reviewed journals and written in English in the period from 1990 to 2007 were analysed. The literature search identified 33 economic evaluations where both costs resource use and outcomes non-resource consequences were measured.

ResultsThis review shows that economic evaluations in telemedicine are highly diverse in terms of both the study context and the methods applied. The articles covered several medical specialities ranging from cardiology and dermatology to psychiatry. The studies analysed telemedicine in home care, and in primary and secondary care settings using a variety of different technologies including videoconferencing, still-images and monitoring store-and-forward telemedicine. Most studies used multiple outcome measures and analysed the effects using disaggregated cost-consequence frameworks. Objectives, study design, and choice of comparators were mostly well reported. The majority of the studies lacked information on perspective and costing method, few used general statistics and sensitivity analysis to assess validity, and even fewer used marginal analysis.

ConclusionAs this paper demonstrates, the majority of the economic evaluations reviewed were not in accordance with standard evaluation techniques. Further research is needed to explore the reasons for this and to address how economic evaluation in telemedicine best can take advantage of local constraints and at the same time produce valid and generalisable results.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1478-7547-7-18 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Download fulltext PDF

Author: Trine S Bergmo


Related documents