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Costs and financial benefits of video communication compared to usual care at home: a systematic review.

Peeters, J.M., Mistiaen, P., Francke, A.L. Costs and financial benefits of video communication compared to usual care at home: a systematic review. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare: 2011, 17(8), 403-411
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We conducted a systematic review of video communication in home care to provide insight into the ratio between the costs and financial benefits (i.e. cost savings). Four databases (PUBMED, EMBASE, COCHRANE LIBRARY, CINAHL) were searched for studies on video communication for patients living at home (up to December 2009). Studies were only included when data about the costs of video communication as well as the financial benefits were presented. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed. Nine studies, mainly conducted in the US, met the inclusion criteria. The methodological quality was poor, except for one study. Most studies (8 of the 9) did not demonstrate that the financial benefits were significantly greater than the costs of video communication. One study - the only one with a high methodological quality - found that costs for patients who received video communication were higher than for patients who received traditional care. The review found no evidence that the cost of implementing video communication in home care was lower than the resulting financial benefits. More methodologically well conducted research is needed. (aut. ref.)