A systematic review of successes and failures in home telehealth: preliminary results
We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify studies in home telehealth that compared a home telehealth intervention with a non-telehealth standard/usual care alternative in terms of administrative changes, patient management decisions, patient outcomes, caregiver outcomes, economic impact or social impact on patients. A search of various databases produced 6643 references. Of these 769 papers were selected for more detailed investigation. These papers, combined with hand searching of relevant telehealth journals and cross-referencing of citations in identified publications, resulted in 138 papers referring to 130 projects for review. In this preliminary analysis we used a quality appraisal approach that took into account the study design. An additional analysis of patient numbers was then used to calculate a net evidence score. A large proportion of studies (80%) were randomised controlled trials. Only 22 projects (17%) reported economic data deemed to be sufficient for appraisal. Evidence exists for the clinical effectiveness of home telehealth in diabetes, the general area of mental health, high risk pregnancy monitoring, heart failure and cardiac disease.