Digital communication tools could reduce costs—but they need more research

Digital clinical communication tools have grown in popularity due to their ability to connect patients and providers and cut costs. But evidence into the feasibility of these tools is lacking, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Researchers reviewed 31 articles detailing the use of digital clinical communication tools from five databases from January 2009 to August 2015. Results showed patients using different types of communication tools including videoconferencing (14) and emails (12). Additionally, a range of clinicians used these devices such as cognitive behavioral therapists (10), physicians (eight) and nurses (six). Some articles also noted the capability for digital clinical communication tool in saving costs.

“This rapid review showed an emerging body of literature on the use of digital clinical communication to improve families’ and caregivers’ involvement in the health management of children or young people,” concluded first author Xavier Armoiry, PhD and colleagues. “Further research with appropriate study designs and longer-term outcome measures should be encouraged.”