Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials

Building the Evidence Base for Tele-Emergency Care: Efforts to Identify a Standardized Set of Outcome Measures

General Information


Background: To enhance the quality of emergency department (ED) care, some rural hospitals have adopted the use of telemedicine (tele-ED). Without a common set of metrics, it is difficult to quantify the impact of this technology.

Introduction: To address this limitation, the Health Resources and Services Administration funded the identification and testing of a core set of measures that could be used to build a business case for the value of tele-ED care.

Methods: A comprehensive environmental scan was conducted to identify existing measures relevant to assessing ED care and the use of telemedicine. Identified measures were assessed against a set of criteria and pilot tested in rural hospitals.

Results: The environmental scan identified numerous ED-specific measures and a limited set of telehealth-specific measures, but no clearly defined measures specific to tele-ED. Applying evaluation criteria to the measures revealed that few have a well-established evidence base, and fewer have undergone the rigorous testing needed to establish statistical reliability and validity. Nevertheless, a parsimonious set of measures was identified that met many of the evaluation criteria. Pilot testing indicated that collecting data using these measures was feasible.

Discussion: For tele-ED benefits to be widely acknowledged, more research is required to demonstrate that care delivered using tele-ED care is as high quality, if not more so, than in-person care. This requires researchers to consistently use a set of clearly defined measures.

Conclusion: The use of clearly defined and standardized measures will aid interpretation and permit replication in multiple studies, furthering acceptance of study findings.

The identification and testing of a core set of measures that could be used to build a business case for the value of tele-ED care.

Yael Harris, Boyd Gilman, Marcia M. Ward, Jonathan Ladinsky, Jacqueline Crowley, Cannon Warren and Craig Caplan


Telemedicine and e-Health
Further Study Information

- 2015
Funding source(s):
The Health Resources and Services Administration

Health Area

Disease Category
Effective practice/health systems

Disease Name
Emergency care

Target Population

Age Range
0 - 110


Nature / type of Intervention
Emergency department short-stay units


Focus group(s)
Systematic review

Stakeholders Involved

Service commissioners
Service providers

Study Type

COS for clinical trials or clinical research
COS for practice

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