What is it about?

People living in regional and rural areas are satisfied with telehealth as a means of accessing specialist healthcare that would otherwise require long-distance travel to a metropolitan centre. This was a finding from a review undertaken by colleagues from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network and the University South Australia and supported by the Hospital Research Foundation. The authors summarised the findings from 36 previously published studies that measured satisfaction with telehealth in patients and their caregivers living in regional and rural areas. Studies came from a range of specialist healthcare services, including medical, rehabilitation, mental health and oncology. There was 80% agreement between studies that patients and their caregivers were satisfied with telehealth. A key reason was improved access to healthcare reducing the cost and inconvenience of travel for patients. Whilst telehealth may initially appear remote to users, the evidence suggests that telehealth can still remain a personal experience through real-time videoconferencing and key elements of communication. The clinician that listens, builds rapport, emphasises patient choice, and involves caregivers during the consultation contributes to satisfaction with telehealth.

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Why is it important?

People living in regional and rural areas are disadvantaged from accessing specialist healthcare compared to people living in metropolitan areas. This research demonstrates that patients and their caregivers are satisfied with telehealth as an alternative form of service delivery by improving access to specialist healthcare.


This research was published prior to the COVID-19 pandemic when technologies such as telehealth were seldomly used in routine clinical practice. The world has embraced telehealth during the pandemic to ensure healthcare services continued to be delivered where clinically appropriate, and remained accessible for all people. It has been rewarding to see this publication contribute to the evidence-base supporting telehealth service delivery from the perspective of patients and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joseph Orlando
Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Systematic review of patient and caregivers’ satisfaction with telehealth videoconferencing as a mode of service delivery in managing patients’ health, PLoS ONE, August 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221848.
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