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Effectiveness and safety of asynchronous telemedicine consultations in general practice: systematic review

Leighton, Cara, Cooper, Alison ORCID:, Porter, Annavittoria, Edwards, Adrian ORCID: and Joseph-Williams, Natalie ORCID: 2024. Effectiveness and safety of asynchronous telemedicine consultations in general practice: systematic review. British Journal of General Practice Open 8 (1) , 0177. 10.3399/BJGPO.2023.0177

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Background There is a focus on increasing asynchronous telemedicine use, which allows medical data to be transmitted, stored, and interpreted later, but limited evidence of the quality of care it allows in general practice hinders this. Aim Investigate uses and effectiveness of asynchronous telemedicine in general practice according to the domains of healthcare quality and describe how the COVID-19 pandemic changed its use. Design & setting Systematic review in general practice. Method A systematic search carried out across four databases using terms related to general practice, asynchronous telemedicine, uses and effectiveness, and supported by citation searching. Followed by screening according to pre-defined criteria, data extraction and critical appraisal. Narrative synthesis guided by the six domains of healthcare quality and exploring differences in use before and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Results Searches yielded 6,864 reports; 27 reports from 23 studies were included. Asynchronous telemedicine is used by a range of staff and patients across many countries. Safety and equity are poorly reported but there were no major safety concerns. Evidence from other domains of healthcare quality show effectiveness in making diagnoses, prescribing medications, replacing other consultations, providing timely care and increased convenience for patients. Efficiency is impacted by negative effects on workflow, through poor implementation and patient non-adherence, limiting usability and requiring new administrative approaches from healthcare staff. Asynchronous telemedicine use increased rapidly from March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Conclusions Asynchronous telemedicine provides quality care for patients but is limited by reports of increased workload and inefficient workflow compared to face-to-face consultations. Limits of evidence include heterogeneity and small-scale studies. Further research into cost effectiveness, equity, safety, and sustained implementation will influence future policy and practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 2398-3795
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 October 2023
Date of Acceptance: 19 September 2023
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2024 13:36

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