Effect of telemedicine on patients' diagnosis and treatment
We conducted a post-consultation survey during 1998-2002 (n = 412 consultations) in the Rural Hospital Telehealth Project run by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Changes in the patient's diagnosis and treatment plan as a result of the telemedicine session were assessed. There were 47 consultants, who conducted 2-82 consultations each. The teleconsultants established a diagnosis in 74 consultations. This was 26% of the 286 respondents. Of the 63 respondents for cases where there was a prior diagnosis and a change was applicable, 17 consultants (27%) reported that there was a change in the patient's diagnosis. The consultants established a patient treatment plan in 139 consultations. This was 52% of the 268 respondents. Of the 123 respondents for cases where there was a prior treatment plan and a change was applicable, 82 (67%) consultants reported a change in the treatment plan. The changes in diagnosis and management imply benefits for the rural population in Arkansas as a result of the use of telemedicine.
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