Jordan Albritton, Ph.D., from RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the benefits and harms of VTC visits for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Based on 38 randomized controlled trials, the researchers found that use of VTC for the treatment and management of specific diseases produces largely similar outcomes when replacing (nine of 12 studies) or augmenting (five of eight studies) usual care. One or more primary outcomes favored VTC in the remaining six studies (three intending to replace usual care and three intending to augment usual care). No studies were identified that assessed the impact of VTC on disease prevention or health disparities. Many studies did not assess harms of VTC, but the few that did revealed no differences.
“Replacing or augmenting aspects of usual care with VTC generally results in similar clinical effectiveness, health care use, patient satisfaction, and quality of life as usual care for areas studied,” the authors write.