Longer term research required for telehealth

In contrast to claims that telehealth can solve numerous healthcare problems, including access to care, a paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research says research on the practice is overly positive because it is often based on short-term projects.

Written by members of the Transatlantic Telehealth Research Network, the paper calls for future research to study the impact and effective use of telehealth.

"Future research is needed to identify additional factors that promote telehealth acceptance, such as human-technology interaction, organization of the healthcare system and social factors," the authors, led by Birthe Dinesen, MS, PhD, of Denmark’s Aalborg University, wrote.

Cost estimates of U.S. telehealth programs from the Congressional Budget Office are geared to short-term financial costs of new legislation rather than potential long-term savings, the authors say.

A personalized telemedicine program must match technology to patient needs, they wrote, noting the patients most likely to benefit from telehealth technology probably need the most help using them.

Read the paper.