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Original Article

Teleconsultation and Clinical Decision Making: a Systematic Review

Kolsoum Deldar, Kambiz Bahaadinbeigy, and Seyed Mahmood Tara.

Background: The goal of teleconsultation is to omit geographical and functional distance between two or more geographically separated health care providers. The purpose of present study is to review and analyze physician-physician teleconsultations. Method: The PubMed electronic database was searched. The primary search was done on January 2015 and was updated on December 2015. A fetch and tag plan was designed by the researchers using an online Zotero library. Results: 174 full-text articles of 1702 records met inclusion criteria. Teleconsultation for pediatric patients accounts for 14.36 percent of accepted articles. Surgery and general medicine were the most prevalent medical fields in the adults and pediatrics, respectively. Most teleconsultations were inland experiences (no=135), and the USA, Italy and Australia were the three top countries in this group. Non-specialists health care providers/centers were the dominant group who requested teleconsultation (no=130). Real time, store and forward, and hybrid technologies were used in 50, 31, and 16.7 percent of articles, respectively. The teleconsultation were reported to result in change in treatment plan, referral or evacuation rate, change in diagnosis, educational effects, and rapid decision making. Use of structured or semi-structured template had been noticed only in a very few articles. Conclusion: The present study focused on the recent ten years of published articles on physician-physician teleconsultations. Our findings showed that although there are positive impacts of teleconsultation as improving patient management, still have gaps that need to be repaired.

Key words: remote consultation, telemedicine, teleconsultation, decision making

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