A systematic review of the key indicators for assessing telehomecare cost-effectiveness

Telemed J E Health. 2008 Nov;14(9):896-904. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2008.0009.


Telehomecare is considered one of the most successful applications of telehealth. However, despite increasing evidence of telehomecare benefits, the diffusion of these services is still limited. Decision-makers need strong evidence in order to expand the development of telehomecare to various populations, regions, and health conditions. The objective of this review is to provide a basis for decision-making by identifying common indicators from the literature on telehomecare. A comprehensive review of the literature on the cost-effectiveness of telehomecare was conducted in specialized bibliographic databases. A total of 23 studies met the inclusion criteria. First, selected studies were analyzed to identify and classify the indicators that better addressed the cost-effectiveness impacts of telehomecare projects. Then, a synthesis of the evidence was done by exploring the relative cost-effectiveness of telehomecare applications. The analyses show that there is fair evidence of cost-effectiveness for many telehomecare applications. However, the heterogeneity among cost-effectiveness indicators in the applications reviewed and the methodological limitations of the studies impede the possibility of generalizing the findings. This suggests the need for a set of common indicators that could be applied for assessing the costeffectiveness of telehomecare projects. This review provides knowledge on the indicators available for assessing cost-effectiveness in telehomecare projects. It appears that the specific context in which the projects take place, meaning different patients, environments, technologies, and healthcare systems, should be taken into account when selecting indicators for assessing telehomecare cost-effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Home Care Services / economics*
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Telemedicine / economics*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration