Telemedicine has been increasingly researched during the past few decades and the technology used by health care providers and recipients has changed dramatically. However, little has been published on technical characteristics of video consultations and how these characteristics have changed over time due to rapid advancement of information and communication technology. We aimed to summarize various types of technologies used for interactive videoconferencing between health care providers and patients, and identify the trend of their change from 2002 to 2012. A comprehensive electronic search was performed using PubMed, Embase and CINAHL databases which yielded 2,411 unique records. After screening at title/abstract level, full texts of 505 articles were retrieved and explored for technical information of videoconferencing. The trend of number of publications fluctuated between 41 and 47 articles with no specific pattern, though a dip in 2004 (n = 35) and drastic increase in 2012 (n = 68) was evident. The equipment used for videoconferencing was not mentioned in 15% of the papers. Dedicated VC systems (CODECs), were the most commonly used hardware, followed by computer/laptop/notebook. The connection speed (bandwidth) was not reported in 46% of the papers. The proportion of articles reporting the connection speed declined over time. Details of image quality and frame rate were mentioned in 11% and 5% of the papers, respectively. The results of this study showed that a high proportion of telemedicine papers lack sufficient technical details that limits their repeatability and generalizability.
- Remote consultation