Telemedicine for general practice: A systematic review protocol
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Background: The use of information technology in healthcare is fast becoming an alternative and supporting method of providing many forms of services in a healthcare and health management setting. Telephone technology is used readily to deliver services such as disease management, consultations and behaviour coaching. Telemedicine provides a promising alternative and supporting service for face-to-face general practice care. The aim of this review is to utilise a systematic review to collate evidence on the use of telemedicine as a lead in and an alternative to general practice visits. Methods/design: A systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform will be performed using the search terms for the intervention (telemedicine) and the comparator (general practice) to search the databases. The systematic review aims to identify randomised control trials; however, if none are identified, an updated search will be conducted to identify lower levels of evidence. Papers will be reviewed and assessed for quality and data extracted using two reviewers; if consensus is required, a third reviewer will be consulted. If applicable, a meta-analysis of relevant outcomes will be conducted. The protocol has been reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines. Discussion: The intervention and comparator have the potential to provide a vast range of healthcare services to a range of diseases and health conditions. There is likely to be difficulty in identifying relevant clinical outcome measures for the patient population. A range of outcome measures will therefore be collected in the data extraction phase.
© 2015 Downes et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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