Young woman having video call on laptop computer at home.

Remote Delivery of Healthcare Services: Putting It Into Practice

Research Summary


Healthcare systems are using video conferencing to provide services in response to CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak. This literature review reveals practices that could support vocational rehabilitation practitioners as they provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses through video conferencing.

Key Findings

  • Healthcare systems have used video conferencing successfully to provide mental health, long-term care, neurological, and rehabilitation healthcare across the United States.
  • Most studies showed video conferencing to be practical, result in positive patient experiences, improve outcomes, decrease hospital days, be similar to in-person care, decrease costs, and improve caregiver quality of life.
  • Two studies found video conferencing ineffective due to participant age, technical difficulty, or a desire for in-person sessions.
  • Geriatric populations responded less favorably to video conferencing due to lack of technological literacy, a preference for in-person care, low vision and hearing, anxiety and stress, dementia, cluttered home environment, and the need for in-home assistance.
  • In one study, the time between appointments was significantly shorter in the video conferencing group, with 73% of appointments within 30 days as compared to 62% for those who received in-person appointments.
  • 96% of individuals using video conferencing felt the appointment gave them needed advice related to clinical decision making.

Put It Into Practice


Tips and tools to help you apply best practices at work.

  • Consider and discuss these issues with job-seekers before using video conferencing to provide vocational rehabilitation services:
    • Does the person have adequate internet services?
    • Is training needed on how to use video conferencing platforms?
    • Could assistive technology increase access to service through video conferencing?
    • What services will be delivered using video conferencing and which need in-person appointments?

More About the Research

Researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review of 27 articles from 2001-2015 measuring video conferencing, at least one chronic illness, and patient outcomes for adults living in a community setting. The review matrix included categories such as study aim, study design, type of technology used, sample size, illness or disability addressed, and the results of video conferencing.

Learn More

Mallow, J.A.; Petitte, T.; Narsavage, G.; Barnes, E.; Theeke, E.; Mallow, B.K.; & Theeke, L.A. (2016). The Use of Video Conferencing for Persons with Chronic Conditions: A Systematic Review. E-Health Telecommunication Systems and Networks, 5 39-56.