Access to specialist care is the biggest advantage of telemedicine in treating infectious disease patients. Both acute and chronic infectious disease care often require consultations or follow ups with specialists. However most infectious disease specialists work in or near university medical centres which are not easily accessible to patients or doctors living at a distance.
A comprehensive review published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases enumerates additional advantages of telemedicine over traditional in-clinic care. The 2015 article summarised information gathered from various telemedicine programs and studies related to both acute and chronic infectious disease management.
According to the review, higher levels of treatment adherence were found among HIV, HCV and TB patients receiving healthcare via telemedicine. Cancellations and late appointment arrivals decreased.
Patients who normally would have been hospitalised but instead were treated at home via telemedicine returned to normal function quicker than hospitalised patients. Patients who were hospitalised but treated via telemedicine from another hospital recovered sooner and spent less days on IV antibiotics than patients receiving in-person visits.
Acute infectious disease patients reported feeling more engaged in their own treatment and a more satisfactory healthcare experience. The majority of patients said they would choose telemedicine again over traditional in-clinic care.
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