Virtual outreach: a telemedicine pilot study using a cluster-randomized controlled design

J Telemed Telecare. 1999;5(2):126-30. doi: 10.1258/1357633991933440.


A pilot study was carried out in preparation for a full-scale randomized controlled trial of teleconsultations versus routine outpatient consultation. The method of study recruited sufficient numbers of patients and avoided selection bias. Over five months, 439 referrals were received, but 297 patients were not eligible to enter the trial because they did not fall within the specialties/consultants included in it. Of the 132 referrals entering the trial, 62 were randomized to the intervention group and 70 to the control group. Consent to participate in the experimental arm of the trial was obtained for all but 13 patients. The results also suggested that patient satisfaction with teleconsultation may exceed that with conventional outpatient consultation, with a strong indication of overall time savings for patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Remote Consultation*