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Improving Access to Care: Telemedicine Across Medical Domains

Authors
  • Barbosa, William
  • Zhou, Kina
  • Waddell, Emma
  • Myers, Taylor
  • Dorsey, E. Ray
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Public Health
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
42
Pages
463–481
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-090519-093711
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Over the past 20 years, the use of telemedicine has increased exponentially. Its fundamental aim is to improve access to care. In this review, we assess the extent to which telemedicine has fulfilled this promise across medical domains. Additionally, we assess whether telemedicine has improved related health outcomes. Finally, we determine who has benefited from this novel form of health care delivery. A review of the literature indicates that (a) telemedicine has improved access to care for a wide range of clinical conditions ranging from stroke to pregnancy; (b) telemedicine in select circumstances has demonstrated improved health outcomes; and (c) telemedicine has addressed geographical, but less so social, barriers to care. For telemedicine to fulfill its promise, additional evidence needs to be gathered on health outcomes and cost savings, the digital divide needs to be bridged, and policy changes that support telemedicine reimbursement need to be enacted.

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