The Evidence for the Economic Value of eHealth in the United States Today: A Systematic Review
The United States healthcare system continues to face increasing costs, with year-over-year projected cost increases that now exceed the rate of increase of the gross domestic product. The rapid expansion and integration of eHealth within the United States healthcare system is driven primarily by a perceived ability to increase access in a cost-efficient manner. However, there is little economic research that addresses the large diversity of eHealth products being integrated into this healthcare landscape. The goal of this study is to evaluate the published economic evidence for eHealth in the United States, analyse how well it supports the growth of the current eHealth environment, and suggest what evidence is needed. This systematic literature review, conducted through the PubMed and The Cochrane Library databases, found that few studies addressed today’s eHealth environment. The current landscape is broader and less tailored to the traditional telemedicine initiatives represented by existing studies. We suggest more rigour in the design and scope of economic studies and that current eHealth technologies be identified for analysis. These studies must be comprehensive from the healthcare system’s perspective and conducted for relevant initiatives and patient groups to allow for evidence-based discussions on the cost-effectiveness of eHealth.
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