Exploring impact of telehealth in mitigating health inequalities of aging rural populations.

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FATIMA ABDULRAHMAN ABDUAZIZ ALBAWARDI
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Abstract: Introduction: Telehealth is still at its formative stages and has been steadily evolving over the years. Its potential in various aspects of health care has yet to be recognized. this review is to systematically evaluate the existing literature on telehealth intervention and explore its impact in mitigating health inequalities on elderly people living in rural and remote regions. Methods: Web of Science, EMBASE, Medline (Ovid), CINAHL, and Google Scholar. Are five electronic databases that were searched, in addition to searching the refence list of the included studies, searching for studies that examined the impact of telehealth in mitigating health inequalities of aging people living in rural regions. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statements (PRISMA) was followed to report evidence in this review. There was no date restriction on the search. All included studies were published in English, and conducted on humans. Newcastle–Ottawa scale (NOS) was used in assessing the quality of the included studies. This systematic review followed a narrative synthesis approach. Results: A systematic search led to the identification of studies (413). (56) studies were removed due to language barrier and duplication. (357) studies were screened for title and abstract. (328) studies were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria. Full text screening was performed on 29 studies. 18 were also excluded for not meeting the eligibility criteria. The remaining 11 studies were included. NOS quality assessment was conducted on the studies. Data was Extracted into a table. Finally, data was synthesised based on specified characteristics and interpretation of findings in context of existing evidence. Discussion: The telehealth applies various new advanced technologies that allow a range of electronic and technology devices for telemedicine and health analytics programs. Studies found are done on both primary and secondary health care. Most of the included studies found that telehealth is used on non-emergency. the quality of the evidence was not at high risk of bias. various studies analyzed in this current study, it shows that telehealth or telemedicine may reduce the cost of healthcare and addressed the accessibility issues among the aging population in remote or rural areas. However, there are some certain factors that can reduce the acceptance of telehealth that need to be addressed. Conclusion: Evidence from the study show that technology mainly applied in the health care home settings can enhance older people or patients’ accessibility to health care providers. situations, and further investigation about security, privacey , accese to devises and connections is needed.
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