The effect of telemedicine on consultation time.
Baldwin L., Clarke M., Hands L., Knott M., Jones R.
We have implemented an 'evidence-based referral' for primary care patients in dermatology, cardiology and peripheral vascular disease. Telemedicine clinics bring together a district nurse, patient and vascular surgeon to discuss diagnosis, management and care. During a 30-month study, a total of 30 patients participated in telemedicine clinics. The mean consultation time fell from 23 to 10 min. In parallel, the type of consultation changed from dermatology to vascular surgery. Nineteen patients participated in vascular telemedicine clinics over the last 16 months of the study. The average consultation time was 10 min (SD 1), which included discussion of the case and negotiation of its management. The average consultation time in the equivalent outpatient clinic in the same hospital for the same consultant was 15 min. The acquisition of the relevant information in primary care could lead to a reduction of 75% in outpatient clinic appointments.