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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-40

Impact of telemedicine on diagnosis, clinical management and outcomes in rural trauma patients: A rapid review


1 Research Chair in Emergency Medicine, CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches, Laval University, Centre De Recherche Du CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches Lévis; Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
2 Research Chair in Emergency Medicine, CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches, Laval University, Centre De Recherche Du CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches Lévis, Canada
3 Research Chair in Emergency Medicine, CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches, Laval University, Centre De Recherche Du CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches Lévis; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Laval University; Centre De Recherche Sur Les Soins Et Services De Première Ligne Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD, PhD Richard Fleet
Research Chair in Emergency Medicine, CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches, Laval University, Centre De Recherche Du CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches Lévis; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Laval University; Centre De Recherche Sur Les Soins Et Services De Première Ligne Université Laval, Québec
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_8_19

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Abstract Introduction: Rural trauma patients are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality compared to trauma patients treated in urban facilities. Factors contributing to this disparity include differences in resource availability and increased time to definitive treatment for rural patients. Telemedicine can improve the early management of these patients by enabling rural providers to consult with trauma specialists at urban centres. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of telemedicine utilisation on the diagnosis, clinical management and outcomes of rural trauma patients. Materials and Methods: A rapid review of the literature was performed using the concepts 'trauma', 'rural' and 'telemedicine'. Fifteen electronic databases were searched from inception to 29th June 2018. Manual searches were also conducted in relevant systematic reviews, key journals and bibliographies of included studies. Results: The literature search identified 187 articles, of which 8 articles were included in the review. All 8 studies reported on clinical management, while the impact of telemedicine use on diagnosis and outcomes was reported in 4 and 5 studies, respectively. Study findings suggest that the use of telemedicine may improve patient diagnosis, streamline the process of transferring patients and reduce length of stay. Use of telemedicine had minimal impact on mortality and complications in rural trauma patients. Conclusions: The evidence identified by this rapid review suggests that telemedicine may improve the diagnosis, management and outcomes of rural trauma patients. Further research is required to validate these findings by performing large and well-designed studies in rural areas, ideally as randomised clinical trials.


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