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Evidence for telemedicine heterogeneity in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases care: a scoping review

HumanInsight Evidence for telemedicine heterogeneity in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases care: a scoping review

Clin Rheumatol. 2024 Jul 10. doi: 10.1007/s10067-024-07052-w. Online ahead of print.


Telemedicine and digital health represent alternative approaches for clinical practice; indeed, its potential in healthcare services for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and disease monitoring is widely acknowledged. These are all crucial issues to consider when dealing with chronic Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs). The aim was to determine the current state of telemedicine in the field of rheumatology, considering the tools and devices in use as well as the Patient Reported Outcomes. A scoping review was performed following the PRISMA-ScR, retrieving articles through five databases from 1990 to 2022. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (I) adult patients with RMDs, (II) original research papers in the English language with available abstracts, and (III) telehealth and telemedicine are provided as healthcare services. Within the 62 included studies, multiple tools of telemedicine were used: 21/62 websites/online platforms, 18/62 mobile applications, 16/62 telephone contacts, 5/62 video-consultations, and 1/62 wearable devices. Outcomes were classified based on the economic, clinical, and humanistic framework. Clinical outcomes assessed through digital tools were pain, disease activity, and serum uric acid levels. Humanistic outcomes have been grouped according to four categories (e.g., mental and physical function, health management, and health perception). The heterogeneity of digital tools in the field of rheumatology highlights the challenge of implementing reliable research into clinical practice. Effective telerehabilitation models have been presented, and the use of a tight control strategy has also been mentioned. Future research should focus on establishing studies on other RMDs as well as summarizing and formulating clinical guidelines for RMDs. Key Points • Evidence for the usefulness of telemedicine and digital health for managing and monitoring rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases is progressively increasing. • Several digital tools effectively measure clinical and humanistic and patient reported outcomes in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. • Integrating diverse digital tools in rheumatology is challenging yet promising. • Future research should focus on developing standardized recommendations for practical use of telemedicine in daily practice.

PMID:38985235 | DOI:10.1007/s10067-024-07052-w

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