BACKGROUND: In recent decades, advances in information technology have given new momentum to telemedicine research. These advances in telemedicine range from individual to population levels, allowing the exchange of patient information for diagnosis and management of health problems, primary care prevention, and education of physicians via distance learning. OBJECTIVE: This scientometric investigation aims to examine collaborative research networks, dominant research themes and disciplines, and seminal research studies that have contributed most to the field of telemedicine. This information is vital for scientists, institutions, and policy stakeholders to evaluate research areas where more infrastructural or scholarly contributions are required. METHODS: For analyses, we used CiteSpace (version 4.0 R5; Drexel University), which is a Java-based software that allows scientometric analysis, especially visualization of collaborative networks and research themes in a specific field. RESULTS: We found that scholarly activity has experienced a significant increase in the last decade. Most important works were conducted by institutions located in high-income countries. A discipline-specific shift from radiology to telestroke, teledermatology, telepsychiatry, and primary care was observed. The most important innovations that yielded a collaborative influence were reported in the following medical disciplines, in descending order: public environmental and occupational health, psychiatry, pediatrics, health policy and services, nursing, rehabilitation, radiology, pharmacology, surgery, respiratory medicine, neurosciences, obstetrics, and geriatrics. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a continuous rise in scholarly activity in telemedicine, we noticed several gaps in the literature. For instance, all the primary and secondary research central to telemedicine was conducted in the context of high-income countries, including the evidence synthesis approaches that pertained to implementation aspects of telemedicine. Furthermore, the research landscape and implementation of telemedicine infrastructure are expected to see exponential progress during and after the COVID-19 era.
- Evidence synthesis
- Health information technology
- Scientometric analysis
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being