The following is a summary of “Telemedicine in the primary care of older adults: a systematic mixed studies review,” published in the July 2023 issue of Primary Care by Ilali et al.
The pandemic drove family physicians to offer remote care, underlining the importance of a high-quality primary care telemedicine (TM) model while presenting distinct challenges for older adults. Researchers initiated a systematic review to investigate the impacts of TM and its utilization factors in primary care for older adults.
They searched for MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINHAL, AgeLine, DARE, Cochrane Library, and clinical trials research registers for articles in 3 languages. Two reviewers undertook the task of selecting studies, collecting information, and assessing quality. TM effects were summarized via key variables, and utilization determinants were thematically examined using Chang’s framework—a joint display matrix integrated into all the data.
The results showed 3,328 identified references, 20 studies, phone (n = 8), videoconference (n = 9), and both (n = 3). Positive TM outcomes, ‘user habit or preferences’ was a cited barrier, while ‘location and travel time’ was a facilitator. One study noted adverse TM outcomes and identified ‘comfort with patient communication’ and ‘user interface, intended use or usability’ as barriers and ‘technology skills and knowledge’ and ‘location and travel time’ as facilitators. Positive service use and usability outcomes had no repeated barriers or facilitators. A single study indicated positive results in health-related and behavioral outcomes.
They concluded TM in healthcare provides positive experiences, high satisfaction, and interest in alternative delivery models for older adults.