Internet-based consultations helped satisfy the medical, pharmaceutical and psychological needs of patients with HIV to the same degree as in-person health care visits, according to a study published in PLoS One, The Atlantic reports.
About the Telehealth Program
Researchers from Barcelona, Spain, presented the results of their "Hospital VIHrtual" telemedicine program, which offered consultations to patients with HIV through an Internet-based home care system.
The patient consultations took place via e-mail and webcam. The telehealth program also provided:
- Access to a virtual community that connected patients to physicians and other patients who have HIV;
- Online medication management; and
- Information about the disease (Greenfield, The Atlantic, 3/15).
Researchers found that 85% of patients said that the virtual hospital improved their access to clinical data and that they felt comfortable with the videoconference system.
The study authors concluded that telemedicine should be considered an appropriate method for the management of HIV. They added that such technology also "is likely to prove extremely useful in settings with poor access to the health system" (León et al, PLoS One, 1/21).