Background: Chronic disease has become an increasingly important issue for individuals and healthcare organizations across Canada. Home telehealth may have the potential to alleviate the economic and social challenges associated with rising rates of chronic disease. An aim of this review was to gather and synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of home telehealth in chronic disease management.
Materials and methods: We searched the Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, and PAIS databases for studies published in English from January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2010. Academic publications, white papers, and gray literature were all considered eligible for inclusion, provided an original research element was present. Articles were screened for relevance.
Results: One hundred one articles on quantitative or mixed-methods studies reported the effects of home telehealth on disease state, symptoms, and quality of life in chronic disease patients. Studies were consistent in finding that home telehealth was equivalent or superior to usual care.
Conclusions: The literature strongly supports the use of home telehealth as an equally effective alternative to usual care. The circumstances under which home telehealth emerges as significantly better than usual care have not been extensively researched. Further research into factors affecting the effectiveness of home telehealth would support more widespread realization of telehealth's potential benefits.