Effectiveness of Telemedicine for Distant Wound Care Advice towards Patient Outcomes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
International Archives of Nursing and Health Care
Telemedicine in wound care allows the general practitioner to communicate with the specialist via telecommunications in co-managing the patients' wounds thus effectively reducing the wait for specialist, allowing patients to get treated faster. As patients with complicated wounds increased, the demand for specialist wound care advice increased. To better manage our patients with chronic wound conditions, there is a need to source out new modalities in wound care management. Though there were
... hough there were many studies done on telecommunications in wound care, a review was necessary as the outcomes measured varied widely with inconsistent evidence on its clinical effectiveness. The aim of this review was to evaluate whether the use of telemedicine for distant wound care advice was effective in improving wound outcomes through meta-analysis of the combined trials. Methods: Database searches were performed in Medline, EMBASE and CINAHL. Study methodologies were assessed using Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool and JBI-MASTARI. Results: 4 randomized controlled trials and before-and-after studies involving 274 wounds were involved in the meta-analysis and studies were of low to moderate risk of bias. The combined trial of 3 studies comprising 229 wounds evaluating wound healing rates showed significant improvement in wound healing (RR 1.50, CI 1.06 to 2.13, p = 0.02). However, there was no significant change in wound size (MD 3.86, CI 5.04 to12.75, p = 0.40). Conclusion: Our review suggests that the use of telemedicine in wound care could effectively improve wound healing rate but not the change in wound size. Hence, more randomized controlled trials are still needed to prove its effectiveness in the clinical area.