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Background: Telemedicine use is increasing in many specialties, but its impact on clinical outcomes in infectious diseases has not been systematically studied and reviewed. The proposed systematic review will evaluate the current evidence regarding the effect of telemedicine infectious diseases consultation on a range of clinical outcomes, including mortality, hospital readmission, antimicrobial use, and cost. Method/design: Standard systematic review methodology will be used, with searches of Ovid MEDLINE 1946-, https://embase.com/ 1947-, Scopus 1823-, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and https://clinicaltrials.gov/ 1997-. There will be no restriction on language or year of publication. The primary outcome will be 30-day all-cause mortality and secondary outcomes will include readmission within 30 days after discharge from an initial hospitalization with an infection, patient compliance/adherence, patient satisfaction, cost or cost effectiveness, length of hospital stay, antimicrobial use, and antimicrobial stewardship. Bias will be assessed using standard Cochrane methodologies. Data will be grouped by outcome and narratively synthesized. Meta-analysis will be performed for outcomes with clinical or methodological homogeneity. The systematic review and meta-analysis will be registered through PROSPERO. Pre-planned subgroup analyses will be detailed. Discussion: A number of studies have documented the feasibility of telemedicine for infectious diseases, but a synthesis of clinical outcomes data with telemedicine infectious diseases consultation has not been performed. This systematic review will analyze many clinical outcomes of telemedicine infectious diseases consultation. The findings of this study will add to established literature about feasibility of telemedicine consultation by synthesizing the evidence for clinical effectiveness. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42018105225.
Burnham, J. P., Fritz, S. A., Yaeger, L. H., & Colditz, G. A. (2019). Telemedicine infectious diseases consultations and clinical outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Systematic Reviews, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-019-1056-y