Telemedicine has been advertised for increasing efficiency, extending the scope of obstetric practice, improving pregnancy outcomes, and reducing costs in the healthcare system. The extent of telemedicine use in obstetrics was identified with a literature search. A total of 268 articles were identified of which 60 are the basis for this review. Telemedicine has been used to read ultrasounds, interpret nonstress tests, counsel patients, manage diabetes, manage postpartum depression, and support parents and children postpartum from remote sites. Reductions in time lost from work, transportation costs, more efficiency for the health care providers, and reducing medical costs all have been suggested as benefits of telemedicine. Despite the information published about telemedicine in obstetrics, this technology has not been shown to have adverse effects in obstetrics but neither has it demonstrated unequivocal benefits. Properly structured and powered investigations will be needed to determine the role of telemedicine in the future.
Target audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists.
Learning objectives: After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to diagnose and treat diabetes using telemedicine techniques; assess the current scope of research in telemedicine in obstetrics; implement clinical telemedicine consultations based on the interaction and the needs of the participants; and the opportunities for further research in telemedicine in obstetrics.