Telehealth interventions produce positive outcomes when used for remote monitoring, communication and counseling for patients with chronic conditions and for psychiatric services provided as part of behavioral health, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Based on 58 systemic reviews assessing the impact of telehealth on clinical outcomes, “the most consistent benefit has been reported when telehealth is used for communication and counseling or remote monitoring in chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, with improvements in outcomes such as mortality, quality of life and reductions in hospital admissions,” the report states. “Given sufficient evidence of effectiveness for these topics, the focus of future research should shift to implementation and practice-based research.” Topics that could be the focus of future systematic review include telehealth for consultation, use in intensive care units, and applications in maternal and child health, the authors said. The report also calls for additional primary research on other telehealth topics, and for integrating telehealth research into the evaluation of new models of care and payment. A recent AHA issue brief also highlighted telehealth’s benefits and urged support for more research.

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