Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Cost-minimization Analysis of Provider-to-provider Telemedicine Compared to Usual care in Catalonia: More Agile and Efficient, Especially for Users

Version 1 : Received: 23 January 2020 / Approved: 23 January 2020 / Online: 23 January 2020 (16:19:31 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

López Seguí, F.; Franch Parella, J.; Gironès García, X.; Mendioroz Peña, J.; García Cuyàs, F.; Adroher Mas, C.; García-Altés, A.; Vidal-Alaball, J. A Cost-Minimization Analysis of a Medical Record-based, Store and Forward and Provider-to-Provider Telemedicine Compared to Usual Care in Catalonia: More Agile and Efficient, Especially for Users. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2008. López Seguí, F.; Franch Parella, J.; Gironès García, X.; Mendioroz Peña, J.; García Cuyàs, F.; Adroher Mas, C.; García-Altés, A.; Vidal-Alaball, J. A Cost-Minimization Analysis of a Medical Record-based, Store and Forward and Provider-to-Provider Telemedicine Compared to Usual Care in Catalonia: More Agile and Efficient, Especially for Users. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2008.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2008
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17062008

Abstract

Background: Telemedicine (interconsultation between primary and hospital care teams) has been operating in the counties of Central Catalonia Bages, Moianès and Berguedà since 2011 in the specialties of teledermatology, teleulcers, teleeyelids and teleaudiometries. For the period until the end of 2019, a total of 52,198 visits have been recorded. Objective: To analyse the differential costs between telemedicine and usual care in a semi-urban environment. Methodology: A cost-minimization evaluation, including direct and indirect costs from a societal perspective, distinguishing healthcare and user’s costs, within a three-month period. Results: Telemedicine saved € 780,397 over the period analysed. A differential cost favourable to telemedicine of about € 15/visit has been observed, the patient being the largest beneficiary of this saving (by 85%) in terms of shorter waiting times and travel costs. From the healthcare system perspective, moving the time spent in a hospital care consultation to primary care is efficient in terms of the total time devoted per patient. In social terms and in this context, telemedicine is more efficient than usual care. Conclusion: Users’ saving of time in terms of consultation and travel is the main driver of interconsultation between primary and hospital care savings in a semi-urban context. The telemedicine service is also economically favourable for the healthcare system, enabling it to provide a more agile service, which also benefits the healthcare professionals.

Subject Areas

cost analysis; health technology assessment; provider-to-provider telemedicine; telehealth; economic analysis

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