Cost-effectiveness of store-and-forward teledermatology: A systematic review

Snoswell, Centaine, Finnane, Anna, Janda, Monika, Soyer, Peter, & Whitty, Jennifer A. (2016) Cost-effectiveness of store-and-forward teledermatology: A systematic review. JAMA Dermatology, 152(6), pp. 702-708.

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Abstract

Importance: Teledermatology is a topical clinical approach being trialled in Australia and overseas (1). With a majority of dermatologists residing in metropolitan areas, teledermatology provides an apparent low cost and convenient means of access for individuals living outside these areas (1, 2). It is important that any proposed new addition to a healthcare system is assessed on the ground of economic cost and effectiveness.

Objective: To summarise and evaluate the current economic evidence comparing store-and-forward teledermatology (S&FTD) with conventional face-to-face (FTF) care.

Evidence Review: Search terms with appropriate amendments were used to return S&FTD articles that included economic analysis. Six databases were searched; title, abstract and full text reviews were conducted by two researchers. References of all unique returned articles were searched by hand. (3)

Findings: Eleven articles were selected for inclusion; consisting of once cost-analysis, five cost-minimisation analyses, three cost-effectiveness analyses and two cost-utility analyses. The Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards checklist was used to evaluate quality, scores ranged from 7 to 21 out of a possible 24 points, with a median score of 17.

Conclusions and Relevance: Current evidence is sparse, but suggests that S&FTD can be cost-effective. It appears to be cost-effective when it is used as a triage mechanism to reduce FTF appointment requirements. The cost-effectiveness of S&FTD increases when patients are required to travel further distances to access dermatology services. Further economic research is required for the emerging S&FTD which uses dermatoscopes in combination with smartphone applications, and around the possibility and consequences of patients self-capturing and transmitting images.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 98282
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0525
ISSN: 2168-6084
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 American Medical Association
Deposited On: 21 Aug 2016 23:18
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 04:38

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