A study reported by MedPage Today looked at the role telemedicine might play in specialty appointments; in this case, infectious disease management.

In the months following, 285 e-consults and 195 FTF (face-to-face) visits took place in the ID section, compared with 193 FTF visits before implementation. Over the course of a year, more patients were seen with e-consults than FTF, and for patients whose queries could be answered offsite, they were able to obtain an answer within an average of 0.6 days (SD 3.6) compared with 16.5 days (SD 12.4) for FTF patients.

In terms of overlap, only six patients required FTF consultation after an e-consult. This study showed that the scope of the visit can be a fairly good indication of whether an FTF consultation is required. For example, queries related to antimicrobial use for bacterial infections, diagnosis and management of latent tuberculosis, Lyme disease, urinary tract infection, C. difficile, perioperative advice, and immunizations were more frequently addressed with e-consults. Invasive infections often required FTF consultations. Interestingly, e-consults seem to encourage queries on new topics, such as management of positive urine cultures, perioperative prophylaxis, and immunizations unrelated to travel.

Read more at www.medpagetoday.com