AHRQ commissioned report: Telehealth effective for remote patient monitoring, patient-physician communication

The Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center has released a report on telehealth.

The report, which was commissioned by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, analyzed 58 systematic reviews that researched the impact of telehealth on clinical outcomes. The ultimate goal is to use these findings to inform future practice, policy and research decisions related to telehealth.

The most consistently reported telehealth benefit is using the technology for remote communication or counseling between physicians and patients with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Well-documented benefits include decreased mortality, increased quality of life and reduced hospital admissions.

Two other telehealth benefits include remote patient monitoring of those with chronic conditions and remote psychotherapy for behavioral healthcare. In regards to these three benefits, the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center suggests additional research on these applications, such as how to promote broader implementation and how to address barriers.

Additional systematic reviews are needed to determine the efficacy of other telehealth applications, such as telehealth for consultation in surgery, intensive care units and maternal and child health.

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