Telehealth for Specialist-Patient Consultations

The Research Question:

"Considering the demographic, geographic, economic context, as well as the health system capacities, in Newfoundland & Labrador, what does the scientific literature tell us about the clinical and economic effectiveness of telehealth patient-specialist consultations compared to face-to-face standard care, in the fields of non-emergency dermatology and cardiology?"


A continuing challenge for the healthcare system arises from the demand for patient-specialist consultations for residents living throughout Newfoundland & Labrador and the concentration of those specialists in a few population centres in the province.

With an internationally recognized telemedicine technology infrastructure, the province has been developing its telehealth capacities in several disciplines, including oncology, nephrology and mental health.

As the Regional Health Authorities seek to increase access to specialist care, they have been exploring the potential to expand telehealth consultations to other disciplines. As a result, Labrador Grenfell Health partnered with CHRSP to investigate what the scientific literature tells us about the benefits to patients, clinicians and the healthcare system of telehealth patient-specialist consultations in dermatology and cardiology, two particular specialties for which demand across rural and remote regions of the province warrants much consultation between patients and specialists.

For this project, CHRSP has partnered with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) to identify and synthesize the recent high-level research literature, including systematic reviews, meta-analyses and health technology assessments. The synthesis also included any high quality primary research that had been conducted recently enough so as not to have been captured by the review literature.

The CHRSP Project Team:

  • Pablo Navarro, Research Officer and CHRSP Project Coordinator
  • Boyd Rowe, Chief Executive Officer (now retired) Labrador-Grenfell Health and Health System Partner
  • Stephen Bornstein, PhD, Director, NLCAHR and CHRSP Program Director
  • Wayne Gulliver, MD Chair of Dermatology, Professor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University
  • Bruce Sussex, MD, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University

Consultants from the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI)

  • Joanne Reid, Provincial Telehealth Coordinator, NLCHI
  • Mary Slade, Manager, Clinical Information Programs, (Telehealth and PACS) NLCHI

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) Team

  • Gaetanne Murphy, Research Officer, CADTH
  • Melissa Severn, Information Specialist, CADTH
  • Sarah Ndegwa, Research Officer, CADTH
  • Sarah McGill, Information Specialist, CADTH
  • Wendy Prichett-Pejic, Research Assistant, CADTH

External Reviewers

  • Jafna L. Cox, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACC, Director of Research, Division of Cardiology, Professor of Medicine and of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University
  • Stuart Peacock, BA, MSc, DPhil (Economics), Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Co-Director, Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC)



Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000