Health systems evaluation of telemedicine: a staged approach.
Telemedicine promises greater access to health care of higher quality, potentially at lower cost. The diverse applications of telemedicine technology developed to date have not been evaluated systematically in terms of their ability to achieve these goals. Furthermore, the great variety in telemedicine applications and the far-reaching consequences of new information systems for health care delivery pose challenges to traditional methods of technology assessment. Methods appropriate for mature technologies may not be suitable for emerging ones and, indeed, may risk stifling their development with premature negative conclusions. The staged approach to technology assessment proposed here matches the analysis to the technology's stage of development. It focuses on access, quality, and cost and considers the communication pathway employed in the telemedicine application. A staged approach to technology assessment can inform and foster the development of new telemedicine technology while allowing health care delivery systems to make rational decisions about adopting telemedicine.
DeChant, HK; Tohme, WG; Mun, SK; Hayes, WS; Schulman, KA
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