HumanInsight Use of Telemedicine in Pediatric Services for 4 Representative Clinical Conditions: Scoping Review
J Med Internet Res. 2022 Oct 26;24(10):e38267. doi: 10.2196/38267.
BACKGROUND: Telemedicine is becoming routine in health care. Postpandemic, a universal return to face-to-face consultations may risk a loss of some of the advantages of telemedicine. However, rapid implementation and adoption without robust evaluation of usability, efficacy, and effectiveness could potentially lead to suboptimal health outcomes and downstream challenges to providers.
OBJECTIVE: This review assesses telemedicine interventions against international guidance and sufficiency of evidence to support postpandemic utilization in pediatric settings.
METHODS: This scoping review was performed following searches on PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL databases on April 15, 2021, and May 31, 2022, and examined studies focused on telemedicine, remote consultation, video call, or remote patient monitoring in children (0-18 years) receiving outpatient care for diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, or renal disease. Exclusion criteria included studies published before 2011 as the technologies used have likely been improved or replaced, studies in adult populations or where it was not possible to disaggregate data for participants younger than 18 years as the focus of the review was on pediatric care, and studies not published in English. Data were extracted by 4 authors, and the data were corroborated by a second reviewer. Studies were examined for feasibility and usability, clinical and process outcomes, and cost-effectiveness.
RESULTS: Of the 3158 studies identified, 56 were suitable for final inclusion and analysis. Data on feasibility or usability of interventions (48 studies) were overwhelmingly positive in support of telemedicine interventions, with common themes including convenience, perceived cost savings, and ease of use. However, use in preference to usual care was rarely explored. Clinical and process outcome data (31 studies) were mostly positive. Across all studies, there was limited measurement of standardized clinical outcomes, although these were more commonly reported in asthma (peak flow) and diabetes (glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c]). Implementation science data generally supported cost-effectiveness of telemedicine with a reduction of health care costs.
CONCLUSIONS: There is promising evidence supporting telemedicine in pediatric settings. However, there is a lack of evaluation of telemedicine in comparison with usual outpatient care for noninferiority of clinical outcomes, and this review highlights the need for a more standardized approach to evaluation of digital interventions.
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