A literature review of email-based telemedicine

Caffery, L. and Smith, A.C. (2010). A literature review of email-based telemedicine. In: Anthony C. Smith and Anthony J. Maeder, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. Selected papers from the 15th International Conference of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth and 1st National Conference of the Australasian Telehealth Society. Global Telehealth 2010 (GT2010), Fremantle, Perth, WA, (20-34). 10-12 November, 2010. doi:10.3233/978-1-60750-659-1-20


Author Caffery, L.
Smith, A.C.
Title of paper A literature review of email-based telemedicine
Conference name Global Telehealth 2010 (GT2010)
Conference location Fremantle, Perth, WA
Conference dates 10-12 November, 2010
Proceedings title Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. Selected papers from the 15th International Conference of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth and 1st National Conference of the Australasian Telehealth Society   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name Studies in Health Technology and Informatics   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication The Netherlands
Publisher I O S Press
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.3233/978-1-60750-659-1-20
ISBN 9781607506584
ISSN 0926-9630
Editor Anthony C. Smith
Anthony J. Maeder
Volume 161
Start page 20
End page 34
Total pages 15
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract/Summary A structured analysis of peer-reviewed literature about the delivery of health services by email was undertaken for this review. A total of 185 articles were included in the analysis. These articles were thematically categorised for medical specialty, participants, sub-topic, study design and service-delivery application. It was shown that email-based telemedicine can be practiced in a large number of medical specialties and has application in primary consultation, second opinion consultation, telediagnosis and administrative roles (e.g. e-referral). Email has niche applications in low-bandwidth, image-based specialties (e.g. dermatology, pathology, wound care and ophthalmology) where attached digital camera images were used for telediagnosis. Diagnostic accuracy of these images was the predominant topic of research and results show email as a valid means of delivering these medical services. Email is also often used in general practice as an adjunct for face-to-face consultation. Further, a number of organisations have significantly improved the efficiency of their outpatient services when using email as a triage or e-referral system. Email-based telemedicine provides specialist medical opinion in the majority of reviewed services and is most likely to be instigated by the patient's primary care giver. However, email-consultations between patient and primary care and patient and secondary care are not uncommon. Most email services are implemented using ordinary email. However, a number of organisations have developed purpose-written email applications to support their telemedicine service due to impediments of using ordinary email. These impediments include lack of management tools for: the allocation and auditing of cases for a timely response and the co-ordination of effort in a multi-clinician, multi-disciplinary service. The ability to encrypt ordinary email thereby securing patient confidentiality is also regarded as difficult when using ordinary email. Hence, alternative web-based email applications where the encryption can be implemented using the more user-friendly HTTPS have become popular. Much of the reviewed literature is descriptive or anecdotal and hence, suffers from lack of conclusive results regarding positive patient outcomes. This may account for email-based telemedicine generally being regarded as underutilised. However, the potential is well recognised. © 2010 The authors and IOS Press. All rights reserved.
Keyword Email
Store-and-forward
Telehealth
Telemedicine
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
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Created: Tue, 15 Feb 2011, 14:42:58 EST by Joanna Kho on behalf of Medicine - Princess Alexandra Hospital