Estimating the benefits of rural telemedicine : issues and applications
Heggem, Christine Nichole
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Use of telemedicine as a method of health care delivery, particularly interactive video, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. However, no standard method has been developed to determine the net benefit to society of these applications. Any such method should recognize that the implementation of telemedicine may affect both access to health care and its quality, as well as the tradeoff between them. This thesis explores the issues surrounding evaluation of telemedicine from an economic benefit-cost analysis standpoint and discusses alternative methods of benefit estimation. Available data are employed to estimate averted cost measures for consumers and isolate determinants of telemedicine use rates for mental health consultations. In addition, data needs for alternative methods of benefit estimation are identified.