Telemedicine offers lifesaving benefits for chronic disease patients

The use of telemedicine to help manage chronic diseases offers benefits including fewer and shorter hospital stays, fewer emergency room visits, less severe illness and fewer deaths, according to a recently published study.

The study by Rashid Bashshur, PhD and colleagues found that telemedicine — defined by the study as “the delivery of health care via information and communication technology” —  allows patients to become more involved in their own care, facilitates continuous monitoring and early detection of new and recurring symptoms and allows for prompt response to worsening illness. The researchers focused on the management of congestive heart failure, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, three of the leading causes of death in the United States.

The study’s conclusions were based on a systematic review of professional literature published from 2000 to early 2014, chosen “on the basis of scientific merit,” according to the study. Overall, 19 studies dealt with congestive heart failure, 21 with stroke and 17 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An additional set of 14 studies investigated cost-benefit analysis.

“The integration of telemedicine into health care adds great value in managing chronic disease for both the patient and the provider,” Charles R. Doarn, MBA, research professor of Family and Community Medicine for University of Cincinnati and co-editor-in-chief of the journal, stated in a press release.


Rashid B. Telemedicine and e-Health;2014;doi:10.1089/tmj.2014.9981.

Disclosure: Bashshur has no relevant financial disclosures.

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