Systematic review of studies of the cost-effectiveness of telemedicine and telecare. Changes in the economic evidence over twenty years

J Telemed Telecare. 2012 Jan;18(1):1-6. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2011.110505. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


A systematic review of studies of the cost-effectiveness of telemedicine and telecare was undertaken from 1990 until September 2010. Twelve databases were searched, using economic evaluation terms combined with telemedicine terms. The search identified 80 studies which were classed as full economic evaluations; the majority (38) were cost-consequence analyses. There were 15 cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) and seven cost-utility analyses (CUA). In the period January 2004 to September 2010 there were 47 studies. Eleven were CEA and seven were CUA. Economic tools are being increasingly used for telemedicine and telecare studies, although better reporting of the methodologies and findings of the economic evaluations is required. Nonetheless, the results of the review were consistent with previous findings, i.e. there is no further conclusive evidence that telemedicine and telecare interventions are cost-effective compared to conventional health care.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Costs / trends
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Telemedicine / economics*
  • Telemedicine / trends
  • Time Factors