A Systematic Review of Telemedicine in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

This paper provides a comprehensive and systematic review of telemedicine use in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A total of 36 articles met inclusion criteria and comprise the final study sample. A majority of the articles included in this review (33) are pilot studies, single-case designs, or case studies/case reports. Three surveys and one randomized controlled trial were also included. Included literature generally supports the feasibility and potential effectiveness of using telemedicine to increase access to autism evaluations and specialist expertise as well as to deliver a variety of interventions to individuals with ASD and/or their caregivers and families. However, methodological rigor in some studies is insufficient to support strong conclusions about impact. There is a need for larger, randomized trials to better determine impact.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Web-based (i.e., “eLearning”) and other forms of electronic-based education for individuals with autism or those who provide services or care for them has been reported in the autism-telemedicine literature (e.g., Jang et al. 2012; Wainer and Ingersoll 2013); however, we do not consider under the telemedicine definition, tele-based systems that do not involve person-to-person electronic communication as part of service or care delivery or education and training.

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Correspondence to John Knutsen.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under cooperative agreement UA3 MC11054–Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the US government. This work was conducted through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network serving as the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health.

Appendix

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Table 2 PRISMA checklist
Table 3 Search strategies

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Knutsen, J., Wolfe, A., Burke, B.L. et al. A Systematic Review of Telemedicine in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Rev J Autism Dev Disord 3, 330–344 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-016-0086-9

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Telemedicine
  • Telehealth