• Telemedicine
  • Telemonitoring evaluations can be better

    Research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research claims that many telemonitoring appraisals do not comply with recognized guidelines and standards. Some methodological limitations identified in the study results affect the results and conclusions of some evaluations.

    The research team concluded that, “Despite the availability of methodological guidelines that can be utilized to guide the proper conduct of systematic reviews and meta-analyses and eliminate potential risks of bias, this knowledge has not yet been fully integrated in the area of home telemonitoring.

    The study found that the number of published reviews has increased substantially over the years, but the focus was mainly on home telemonitoring of patients with congestive heart failure. Other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma have less emphasis.

    The study’s findings are that many reviews appear to lack optimal scientific rigor due to methodological issues and their overall quality does not appear to have improved. Evaluations did comply with several criteria satisfactorily, such as establishing an a priori design with inclusion and exclusion criteria, use of electronic searches on multiple databases, and reporting studies characteristics. But, other important areas need improvement, including duplicate data extraction, manual searches of highly relevant journals, inclusion of grey and non-English literature, assessment of the methodological quality of included studies and the quality of evidence.

    It seems that progress on evaluations may be slow. Criticisms go back to Whitten’s review on telemedicine evaluations in 2002.