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Telemed J E Health. 2005 Feb;11(1):36-43.

Changes in diagnosis, treatment, and clinical improvement among patients receiving telemedicine consultations.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


The aim of this study was to determine whether outpatient telemedicine specialty consultations to primary care clinicians result in changes in a patient's diagnosis, treatment management, and clinical outcomes. Medical records of patients who received two or more clinical telemedicine consultations in dermatology, psychiatry, and endocrinology were evaluated in a nonconcurrent retrospective analysis. Three indicators were used to measure changes in the processes of care and clinical outcomes: change in diagnosis, change in treatment, and patient clinical improvement. A retrospective review of 223 individual telemedicine patient medical records was conducted. Specialty telemedicine consultations were found to result in changes in diagnoses in 48% of the cases, changes in treatment therapy in 81.6% of the cases, and clinical improvement in 60.1%. These results are consistent with previous literature that has assessed changes in processes of care and outcomes from face-to-face specialty consultations in outpatient clinics. Changes in diagnosis and treatment therapy were found to be associated with clinical improvement with odds ratios (ORs) of 2.66 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.47-4.83) and 11.22 (95% CI: 4.49-31.48), respectively. This study found that telemedicine consultations resulted in changes in diagnosis and treatment regimens and also are associated with clinical improvements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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