Background. Telemedicine use is increasing in many specialties, but its impact on clinical outcomes in infectious diseases has not been systematically reviewed. We reviewed the current evidence for clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious diseases consultations, including outcomes of mortality, hospital readmission, antimicrobial use, cost, length of stay, adherence, and patient satisfaction. Methods. We queried Ovid MEDLINE 1946-, Embase.com 1947-, Scopus 1823-, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and ClinicalTrials.gov 1997- through August 5, 2019, for studies looking at clinical outcomes of infectious diseases in the setting of telemedicine use. We did not restrict by language or year of publication. Clinical outcomes searched included 30-day all-cause mortality, 30-day readmissions, patient compliance/adherence, patient satisfaction, cost or cost-effectiveness, length of hospital stay, antimicrobial use, and antimicrobial stewardship. Bias was assessed using standard methodologies. PROSPERO CRD42018105225. Results. From a search pool of 1154 studies, only 18 involved telemedicine infectious diseases consultation and our selected clinical outcomes. The outcomes tracked were heterogeneous, precluding meta-analysis, and the majority of studies were of poor quality. Overall, clinical outcomes with telemedicine infectious diseases consultation seem comparable to in-person infectious diseases consultation. Conclusions. Although in widespread use, the clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious diseases consultations has yet to be sufficiently studied. Further studies, or publication of previously collected and available data, are warranted to verify the cost-effectiveness of this widespread practice.
- Clinical outcomes
- Infectious diseases consultation
- Systematic review