Telemedicine Does Reduce Patient Travel

"A major benefit offered by telemedicine is the avoidance of travel, by patients, their carers and health care professionals," wrote the authors of a recent international study. The problem, the authors discovered, was that although that's a common-sense observation, no one had actually proven that to be true.

So, the authors conducted "a systematic review of literature which reports credible data on the reductions in travel associated with the use of telemedicine." The study focused on the specialty of teledermatology and reviewed 20 existing studies covering some 5200 patients.

There was a possibility that telemedicine merely supplemented face-to-face consulting, not supplanted it. But, the study found that telemedicine did indeed cut travel for patients and medical personnel. As the authors said, "The increase in the proportion of patients who avoided travel (25%) when real-time telemedicine was employed was significant."

This study has positive implications, as well as clear evidence, that telemedicine can reduce energy consumption as well as valuable time, and that this reduction may very well apply to many other specialties of medicine.

Study: Telemedicine cuts down on patient travel time (CMIO)

Estimating travel reduction associated with the use of telemedicine by patients and healthcare professionals: proposal for quantitative synthesis in a systematic review (BMC Health Services Research)