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Telemed J E Health. 2008 Sep;14(7):720-5. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2007.0108.

Clinical telehealth across the disciplines: lessons learned.

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Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Videoconferencing technologies can vastly expand the reach of healthcare practitioners by providing patients (particularly those in rural/remote areas) with unprecedented access to services. While this represents a fundamental shift in the way that healthcare professionals care for their patients, very little is known about the impact of these technologies on clinical workflow practices and interprofessional collaboration. In order to better understand this, we have conducted a focused literature review, with the aim of providing policymakers, administrators, and healthcare professionals with an evidence-based foundation for decision-making. A total of 397 articles focused on videoconferencing in clinical contexts were retrieved, with 225 used to produce this literature review. Literature in the fields of medicine (including general and family practitioners and specialists in neurology, dermatology, radiology, orthopedics, rheumatology, surgery, cardiology, pediatrics, pathology, renal care, genetics, and psychiatry), nursing (including hospital-based, community-based, nursing homes, and home-based care), pharmacy, the rehabilitation sciences (including occupational and physical therapy), social work, and speech pathology were included in the review. Full utilization of the capacity of videoconferencing tools in clinical contexts requires some basic necessary technical conditions to be in place (including basic technological infrastructure, site-to-site technological compatibility, and available technical support). The available literature also elucidates key strategies for organizational readiness and technology adoption (including the development of a change management and user training plan, understanding program cost and remuneration issues, development of organizational protocols for system use, and strategies to promote interprofessional collaboration).

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