Image-based medical expert teleconsultation in acute care of injuries. A systematic review of effects on information accuracy, diagnostic validity, clinical outcome, and user satisfaction.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the literature on image-based telemedicine for medical expert consultation in acute care of injuries, considering system, user, and clinical aspects. DESIGN: Systematic review of peer-reviewed journal articles. DATA SOURCES: Searches of five databases and in eligible articles, relevant reviews, and specialized peer-reviewed journals. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Studies were included that covered teleconsultation systems based on image capture and transfer with the objective of seeking medical expertise for the diagnostic and treatment of acute injury care and that presented the evaluation of one or several aspects of the system based on empirical data. Studies of systems not under routine practice or including real-time interactive video conferencing were excluded. METHOD: The procedures used in this review followed the PRISMA Statement. Predefined criteria were used for the assessment of the risk of bias. The DeLone and McLean Information System Success Model was used as a framework to synthesise the results according to system quality, user satisfaction, information quality and net benefits. All data extractions were done by at least two reviewers independently. RESULTS: Out of 331 articles, 24 were found eligible. Diagnostic validity and management outcomes were often studied; fewer studies focused on system quality and user satisfaction. Most systems were evaluated at a feasibility stage or during small-scale pilot testing. Although the results of the evaluations were generally positive, biases in the methodology of evaluation were concerning selection, performance and exclusion. Gold standards and statistical tests were not always used when assessing diagnostic validity and patient management. CONCLUSIONS: Image-based telemedicine systems for injury emergency care tend to support valid diagnosis and influence patient management. The evidence relates to a few clinical fields, and has substantial methodological shortcomings. As in the case of telemedicine in general, user and system quality aspects are poorly documented, both of which affect scale up of such programs.
Project description:Background: Telemedicine, or healthcare delivery from a distance, has evolved over the past 50 years and helped alter health care delivery to patients around the globe. Its integration into numerous domains has permitted high quality care that transcends obstacles of geographic distance, lack of access to health care providers, and cost. Ultrasound is an effective diagnostic tool and its application within telemedicine ("tele-ultrasound") has advanced substantially in recent years, particularly in high-income settings. However, the utility of tele-ultrasound in resource-limited settings is less firmly established. Objective: To determine whether remote tele-ultrasound is a feasible, accurate, and care-altering imaging tool in resource-limited settings. Data Sources: PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase. Study Eligibility Criteria: Twelve original articles met the following eligibility criteria: full manuscript available, written in English, including a direct patient-care intervention, performed in a resource-limited setting, images sent to a remote expert reader for interpretation and feedback, contained objective data on the impact of tele-ultrasound. Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods: Abstracts were independently screened by two authors against inclusion criteria for full-text review. Any discrepancies were settled by a senior author. Data was extracted from each study using a modified Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group's data extraction template. Study bias was evaluated using the ROBINS-I tool. Results: The study results reflect the diverse applications of tele-ultrasound in low-resource settings. Africa was the most common study location. The specialties of cardiology and obstetrics comprised most studies. Two studies primarily relied on smartphones for image recording and transmission. Real-time, rather than asynchronous, tele-ultrasound image interpretation occurred in five of the 12 studies. The most common outcome measures were image quality, telemedicine system requirements, diagnostic accuracy, and changes in clinical management. Limitations: The studies included were of poor quality with a dearth of randomized control trials and with significant between study heterogeneity which resulted in incomplete data and made cross study comparison difficult. Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings: Low-quality evidence suggests that ultrasound images acquired in resource-limited settings and transmitted using a telemedical platform to an expert interpreter are of satisfactory quality and value for clinical diagnosis and management.
Project description:BACKGROUND:With the exponential increase in mobile phone users in India, a large number of public health initiatives are leveraging information technology and mobile devices for health care delivery. Given the considerable financial and human resources being invested in these initiatives, it is important to ascertain their role in strengthening health care systems. OBJECTIVE:We undertook this review to identify the published mobile health (mHealth) or telemedicine initiatives in India in terms of their current role in health systems strengthening. The review classifies these initiatives based on the disease areas, geographical distribution, and target users and assesses the quality of the available literature. METHODS:A search of the literature was done to identify mHealth or telemedicine articles published between January 1997 and June 2017 from India. The electronic bibliographic databases and registries searched included MEDLINE, EMBASE, Joanna Briggs Institute Database, and Clinical Trial Registry of India. The World Health Organization health system building block framework was used to categorize the published initiatives as per their role in the health system. Quality assessment of the selected articles was done using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment and National Institutes of Health, US tools. RESULTS:The combined search strategies yielded 2150 citations out of which 318 articles were included (primary research articles=125; reviews and system architectural, case studies, and opinion articles=193). A sharp increase was seen after 2012, driven primarily by noncommunicable disease-focused articles. Majority of the primary studies had their sites in the south Indian states, with no published articles from Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern parts of India. Service delivery was the primary focus of 57.6% (72/125) of the selected articles. A majority of these articles had their focus on 1 (36.0%, 45/125) or 2 (45.6%, 57/125) domains of health system, most frequently service delivery and health workforce. Initiatives commonly used client education as a tool for improving the health system. More than 91.2% (114/125) of the studies, which lacked a sample size justification, had used convenience sampling. Methodological rigor of the selected trials (n=11) was assessed to be poor as majority of the studies had a high risk for bias in at least 2 categories. CONCLUSIONS:In conclusion, mHealth initiatives are being increasingly tested to improve health care delivery in India. Our review highlights the poor quality of the current evidence base and an urgent need for focused research aimed at generating high-quality evidence on the efficacy, user acceptability, and cost-effectiveness of mHealth interventions aimed toward health systems strengthening. A pragmatic approach would be to include an implementation research component into the existing and proposed digital health initiatives to support the generation of evidence for health systems strengthening on strategically important outcomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Several models suggest how the qualities of a product or service influence user satisfaction. Models such as the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), and Delone and McLean Information Systems Success demonstrate those relations and have been used in the context of health information systems. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to investigate which qualities foster greater satisfaction among patient and professional users. In addition, we are interested in knowing to what extent improvement in those qualities can explain user satisfaction and whether this makes user satisfaction a proxy indicator of those qualities. METHODS:The Unified eValuation using ONtology (UVON) method was used to construct an ontology of the required qualities for 7 electronic health (eHealth) apps being developed in the Future Internet Social and Technological Alignment Research (FI-STAR) project, a European Union (EU) project in electronic health (eHealth). The eHealth apps were deployed across 7 EU countries. The ontology included and unified the required qualities of those systems together with the aspects suggested by the Model for ASsessment of Telemedicine apps (MAST) evaluation framework. Moreover, 2 similar questionnaires for 87 patient users and 31 health professional users were elicited from the ontology. In the questionnaires, the user was asked if the system has improved the specified qualities and if the user was satisfied with the system. The results were analyzed using Kendall correlation coefficients matrices, incorporating the quality and satisfaction aspects. For the next step, 2 partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) path models were developed using the quality and satisfaction measure variables and the latent construct variables that were suggested by the UVON method. RESULTS:Most of the quality aspects grouped by the UVON method are highly correlated. Strong correlations in each group suggest that the grouped qualities can be measures that reflect a latent quality construct. The PLS-SEM path analysis for the patients reveals that the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of treatment provided by the system are the most influential qualities in achieving and predicting user satisfaction. For the professional users, effectiveness and affordability are the most influential. The parameters of the PLS-SEM that are calculated allow for the measurement of a user satisfaction index similar to CSI for similar health information systems. CONCLUSIONS:For both patients and professionals, the effectiveness of systems highly contributes to their satisfaction. Patients care about improvements in safety and efficiency, whereas professionals care about improvements in the affordability of treatments with health information systems. User satisfaction is reflected more in the users' evaluation of system output and fulfillment of expectations but slightly less in how far the system is from ideal. Investigating satisfaction scores can be a simple and fast way to infer if the system has improved the abovementioned qualities in treatment and care.
Project description:Traumatic injury is a serious global health burden, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where medical care often lacks resources and expertise. In these contexts, diagnostic telemedicine could prove a cost effective tool, yet it remains largely underused here, and knowledge on its potential impact is limited. Particularly scarce is the view of the expert user physicians, and how they themselves relate to this technology.This qualitative study investigated tele-experts' (n?=?15) views on the potential for image based teleconsultation to be integrated in trauma and emergency care services. A semi-structured interview guide was used to gather data concerning an mHealth app for burns diagnostics in the acute care setting, in the Western Cape, South Africa. Questions examined challenges and opportunities in user acceptance and outcomes, in specific case management and in the wider healthcare system. Resulting data were subject to qualitative content analysis.Experts perceived remote diagnostic support through mHealth as linking directly to several key ideas in medicine, including barriers to care, medical culture and hierarchy, and medical ethics within a society. Ideas running through the data pertained to the widening and narrowing of inherent gaps in the healthcare system, and the formalisation of processes, practices and relationships, effected by the introduction of an app. Wide consensus was stated on positive outcomes such as increased education opportunities, improved professional relationships and a better ability to advise and diagnose, all further facilitated through greater ease of access. The belief was that these could achieve a narrowing of systemic divides within healthcare, although it was acknowledged that the possibility to induce the opposite effect also arose. Differing opinions were voiced relating to the involvement of allied health professionals and feedback.Experts see several aspects to an mHealth app for remote diagnostic support which could enhance provision of trauma and emergency care in a resource poor setting, relating to reduced delays, streamlined care and improved outcomes. Attention is also drawn, however, to specifics of the environment which would demand further and careful consideration for success - time pressure, intensity and the wide range of subspecialties to be considered.
Project description:Various noninvasive microscopic camera technologies have been used to visualize the sublingual microcirculation in patients. We describe a comprehensive approach to bedside in vivo sublingual microcirculation video image capture and analysis techniques in the human clinical setting. We present a user perspective and guide suitable for clinical researchers and developers interested in the capture and analysis of sublingual microcirculatory flow videos. We review basic differences in the cameras, optics, light sources, operation, and digital image capture. We describe common techniques for image acquisition and discuss aspects of video data management, including data transfer, metadata, and database design and utilization to facilitate the image analysis pipeline. We outline image analysis techniques and reporting including video preprocessing and image quality evaluation. Finally, we propose a framework for future directions in the field of microcirculatory flow videomicroscopy acquisition and analysis. Although automated scoring systems have not been sufficiently robust for widespread clinical or research use to date, we discuss promising innovations that are driving new development.
Project description:PURPOSE:Nowadays, complex digital imaging systems allow detailed retinal imaging without dilating patients' pupils. These so-called non-mydriatic cameras have advantages in common circumstances (eg, for screening or emergency purposes) but present limitations in terms of image quality and field of view. We compare the usefulness of two non-mydriatic camera systems (ie, a handheld versus a stand-alone device) for fundus imaging. The primary outcome was image quality. The secondary outcomes were learning effects and quality grade-influencing factors. METHODS:The imaging procedures followed standard protocol and were all performed by the same investigator. Camera 1 (DRS®) was a stand-alone system, while Camera 2 (Smartscope® PRO) was a mobile system. In order to evaluate possible learning effects, we selected an examiner with no prior training in the use of these systems. The images were graded separately by two experienced and "blinded" ophthalmologists following a defined protocol. RESULTS:In total, 211 people were enrolled. Quality grade comparisons showed significantly better grades for Camera 1. Both systems achieved better quality grades for macular images than for disc-centered images. No remarkable learning effects could be demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS:Both camera systems are useful for fundus imaging. The greater mobility of Camera 2 was associated with lower image quality. For screening scenarios or telemedicine, it must be determined whether image quality or mobility is more important.
Project description:Reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) is an imaging device that permits non-invasive visualization of cellular morphology and has been shown to improve diagnostic accuracy of dermoscopically equivocal cutaneous lesions. The application of double reader concordance evaluation of dermoscopy-RCM image sets in retrospective settings and its potential application to telemedicine evaluation has not been tested in a large study population.To improve diagnostic sensitivity of RCM image diagnosis using a double reader concordance evaluation approach; to reduce mismanagement of equivocal cutaneous lesions in retrospective consultation and telemedicine settings.1000 combined dermoscopy-RCM image sets were evaluated in blind by 10 readers with advanced training and internship in dermoscopy and RCM evaluation. We compared sensitivity and specificity of single reader evaluation versus double reader concordance evaluation as well as the effect of diagnostic confidence on lesion management in a retrospective setting.Single reader evaluation resulted in an overall sensitivity of 95.2% and specificity of 76.3%, with misdiagnosis of 8 melanomas, 4 basal cell carcinomas and 2 squamous cell carcinomas. Combined double reader evaluation resulted in an overall sensitivity of 98.3% and specificity of 65.5%, with misdiagnosis of 1 in-situ melanoma and 2 basal cell carcinomas.Evaluation of dermoscopy-RCM image sets of cutaneous lesions by single reader evaluation in retrospective settings is limited by sensitivity levels that may result in potential mismanagement of malignant lesions. Double reader blind concordance evaluation may improve the sensitivity of diagnosis and management safety. The use of a second check can be implemented in telemedicine settings where expert consultation and second opinions may be required.
Project description:Importance: Telemedicine has been shown to be an efficient and effective means of providing care to patients with chronic disease especially in remote and undeserved regions, by improving access to care and reduce healthcare cost. However, the evidence surrounding its applicability in type 1 diabetes remains scarce and conflicting. Objective: To synthesize evidence and quantify the effectiveness of telemedicine interventions for the management of glycemic and clinical outcomes in type 1 diabetes patients, relative to comparator conditions. Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and CINAHL were searched for published articles since inception until December 2016. Study Selection: Original articles reporting the results of randomized controlled studies on the effectiveness of telemedicine in people with type 1 diabetes were included. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently extracted data, assessed quality, and strength of evidence. Interventions were categorized based upon the telemedicine focus (monitoring, education, consultation, case-management, and peer mentoring). Main Outcome and Measure: Absolute change in glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) from baseline to follow-up assessment. Results: A total of 38 studies described in 41 articles were identified. Positive effects on glycemic control were noted with studies examining telemedicine, with a mean reduction of 0.18% at the end of intervention. Studies with longer duration (>6 months) who had recruited patients with a higher baseline HbA1c (?9%) were associated with larger effects. Telemedicine interventions that involve individualized assessments, audit with feedback and skill building were also more effective in improving glycemic control. However, no benefits were observed on blood pressure, lipids, weight, quality of life, and adverse events. Conclusions and Relevance: There is insufficient evidence to support telemedicine use for glycemic control and other clinically relevant outcome among patients with type 1 diabetes.
Project description:To review findings from the authors' published studies involving telemedicine and image analysis for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) diagnosis.Twenty-two ROP experts interpreted a set of 34 wide-angle retinal images for presence of plus disease. For each image, a reference standard diagnosis was defined from expert consensus. A computer-based system was used to measure individual and linear combinations of image parameters for arteries and veins: integrated curvature (IC), diameter, and tortuosity index (TI). Sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic areas under the curve (AUC) for plus disease diagnosis were determined for each expert. Sensitivity and specificity curves were calculated for the computer-based system by varying the diagnostic cutoffs for arterial IC and venous diameter. Individual vessels from the original 34 images were identified with particular diagnostic cutoffs, and combined into composite wide-angle images using graphics editing software.For plus disease diagnosis, expert sensitivity ranged from 0.308-1.000, specificity from 0.571-1.000, and AUC from 0.784 to 1.000. Among computer system parameters, one linear combination had AUC 0.967, which was greater than that of 18 of 22 (81.8%) experts. Composite computer-generated images were produced using the arterial IC and venous diameter values associated with 75% under-diagnosis of plus disease (ie, 25% sensitivity cutoff), 50% under-diagnosis of plus disease (ie, 50% sensitivity cutoff), and 25% under-diagnosis of plus disease (ie, 75% sensitivity cutoff).Computer-based image analysis has the potential to diagnose severe ROP with comparable or better accuracy than experts, and could provide added value to telemedicine systems. Future quantitative definitions of plus disease might improve diagnostic objectivity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Only a few telemedicine applications have made their way into regular care. One reason is the lack of acceptance of telemedicine by potential end users. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this systematic review was to identify theoretical predictors that influence the acceptance of telemedicine. METHODS:An electronic search was conducted in PubMed and PsycINFO in June 2018 and supplemented by a hand search. Articles were identified using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. In total, two reviewers independently assessed the title, abstract, and full-text screening and then individually performed a quality assessment of all included studies. RESULTS:Out of 5917 potentially relevant titles (duplicates excluded), 24 studies were included. The Axis Tool for quality assessment of cross-sectional studies revealed a high risk of bias for all studies except for one study. The most commonly used models were the Technology Acceptance Model (n=11) and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (n=9). The main significant predictors of acceptance were perceived usefulness (n=11), social influences (n=6), and attitude (n=6). The results show a superiority of technology acceptance versus original behavioral models. CONCLUSIONS:The main finding of this review is the applicability of technology acceptance models and theories on telemedicine adoption. Characteristics of the technology, such as its usefulness, as well as attributes of the individual, such as his or her need for social support, inform end-user acceptance. Therefore, in the future, requirements of the target group and the group's social environment should already be taken into account when planning telemedicine applications. The results support the importance of theory-guided user-centered design approaches to telemedicine development.