Cost and potential savings of electronic consultation and its relationship with reduction in atmospheric pollution
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2683
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/22/12436
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Background: Telemedicine has been incorporated into daily clinical practice. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the economic impact of electronic consultation as a means of referring patients between Primary Care (PC) services and the referral Cardiology Service (CS) of a tertiary hospital, in particular, the cost of reduced air pollution. Methods: The direct and indirect costs associated with all the interconsultations between PC and a CS of a tertiary hospital were analyzed under a universal single act model versus a prior e-consultation model that selected patients who would later attend the single-act consultation. The cost of pollution from private motor vehicle travel by road has been analyzed with a Cobb–Douglas cost function. Results: The total cost per patient, including the costs associated with death, represented a saving in the model with e-consultation of 25.6%. The economic value for the reduction of contamination would be EUR 12.86 per patient. Conclusions: The introduction of e-consultation in the outpatient management of patients referred from PC to a CS, helps to reduce direct and indirect costs for the patient and the Health Care System. The cost of pollution associated with the trips explains the total cost to a greater extent, except for the first face-to-face consultation.
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