There are evidences which suggest before the pandemic, when telemedicine was operated, it was effective secure, cost effective as well as a patient-centred service. The body of evidence has grown considerably since the pandemic occurred, and it has been brought to light that when telemedicine is not used appropriately, it is not perceived as something that is cost-effective or effective at all.
The idea is to zero-in on what the high quality and value adding features of telemedicines are so that their usage by patients is more widespread. A pragmatic and systematic review of telemedicine that took place between 2020 and 2022 was carried out to gauge its relevance in order to clarify its impact. The evidence that was witnessed came from the data of OCED nations.
The evidence suggested that telemedicines might as well have inequalities when it comes to care access and access among older, poorer as well as rural patients remained a concern as they happen to be among the cohort that is most likely to not gain from the health and digital literacy of telemedicine usage.
There is indeed substantial evidence stating that telemedicine did deliver effective, safe, as well as responsive services, although this contrasted with the views of numerous physicians. In Australia and Canada, a large set of population thought that the quality of care was in fact equivalent to that of in-person consultations. However, in places such as Sweden, Austria, and Norway, there were concerns on if at all remote consultations can replace in-person visits for services ranging from care visits to psychotherapy or also in cases where in-person coordination and bond was not even established in the first place. There were also concerns regarding increased health spending as well as high opportunity costs where serious medical issues were involved.
Emergency physicians as well as other specialists had a concern that the patients who were referred to them never had an in-person consultation and were not even given a proper examination.
When it came to Canada, challenges were raised because there were for-profit services that offered access to care by those with whom the patients had not consulted before, which in fact jeopardised the efficiency of the system.
Besides, telemedicine can also lead to inpatient care, where it would have been more appropriate to initially conduct an in-person consultation. This is especially of relevance in case of certain provider payment scheme that may lead to spending higher with no extra value.
As per a 2021 Canadian survey, 81% individuals who used video consultation revealed that it had helped them avoid doctor in-person or emergency room visits. There have also been instances where mobile health-led integrated care, ehealth interventions, and smartphone app-based models have reduced hospitalisation rates, which has led to lower costs.
On the other hand, teleconsultations can very well increase the patient numbers that are seen by the doctors in one single day, therefore elevating the stress levels because of high workloads.