Economic evaluation of telemedicine: Review of the literature and research guidelines for benefit-cost analysis

María E. Dávalos, Michael T. French, Anne E. Burdick, Scott C. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Scopus citations


Telemedicine programs provide specialty health services to remote populations using telecommunications technology. This innovative approach to medical care delivery has been expanding for several years and currently covers various specialty areas such as cardiology, dermatology, and pediatrics. Economic evaluations of telemedicine, however, remain rare, and few of those conducted have accounted for the wide range of economic costs and benefits. Rigorous benefit-cost analyses of telemedicine programs could provide credible and comparative evidence of their economic viability and thus lead to the adoption and/or expansion of the most successful programs. To facilitate more advanced economic evaluations, this article presents research guidelines for conducting benefit-cost analyses of telemedicine programs, emphasizing opportunity cost estimation, commonly used program outcomes, and monetary conversion factors to translate outcomes to dollar values. The article concludes with specific recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-948
Number of pages16
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



  • Benefit'cost analysis
  • Economic evaluation
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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