We conducted a systematic review of the literature on telemedicine use in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and assessed the quality of the published evidence. A database search identified 22 papers which met the inclusion criteria. The quality of the studies was assessed and if they contained economic data, they were rated according to standard criteria. The clinical services provided by telemedicine included allied health (n = 5), dermatology (3), general practice (4), neurology (2), geriatrics (1), psychiatry (4) and multiple specialities (3). Most studies (17) employed real-time telemedicine using videoconferencing. The remaining five used store and forward telemedicine. The papers focused on economics (3), feasibility (9), stakeholder satisfaction (12), reliability (5) and service implementation (2). Overall, the quality of evidence for telemedicine in LTCFs was low. There was only one small randomised controlled trial (RCT). Most studies were observational and qualitative, and focused on utilisation. They were mainly based on surveys and interviews of stakeholders. A few studies evaluated the cost associated with implementing telemedicine services in LTCFs. The present review shows that there is evidence for feasibility and stakeholder satisfaction in using telemedicine in LTCFs in a number of clinical specialities.
© SAGE Publications Ltd, 2013.