Original Articles

Telemedicine in palliative care: a review of systematic reviews


Abstract


Aims. To evaluate the quality of systematic reviews on telemedicine applications in palliative care. Methods. A structured literature review was conducted to identify systematic reviews dealing with telemedicine in palliative care; the AMSTAR – Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews – checklist was used to appraise the evidence related to the systematic reviews. Results: 405 records were initially identified; of these 14 were eligible for full-text analysis. In summary, the research strategy allowed the identification of 6 reviews to be included which showed a medium quality (AMSTAR score in between 4 and 7). All the included systematic reviews considered telemedicine applications as a feasible means to be used in palliative care; however, the positive findings are counterbalanced by several critical issues mainly related to the evidence from the primary studies included in each single review. Conclusions. Results of this first attempt to appraise the evidence in the field of telemedicine applications in palliative care highlighted that there is still limited evidence related to this approach. Strengths and weaknesses that impact on the general quality of the reviews were identified and relevant points to be taken into account for future research were suggested.


Keywords


palliative car, telemedicine, systematic review, quality assessment, AMSTAR

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