Twenty-first century house calls: a survey of ambulatory care providers to inform organisational telehealth strategy

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Objectives

While patient interest in telehealth increases, clinicians’ perspectives may influence longer-term adoption. We sought to identify facilitators and barriers to continued clinician incorporation of telehealth into practice.

Methods

A cross-sectional 24-item web-based survey was emailed to 491 providers with ≥50 video visits (VVs) within an academic health system between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020. We quantitatively summarised the characteristics and perceptions of respondents by using descriptive and test statistics. We used systematic content analysis to qualitatively code open-ended responses, double coding at least 25%.

Results

247 providers (50.3%) responded to the survey. Seventy-nine per cent were confident in their ability to deliver excellent clinical care through VV. In comparison, 48% were confident in their ability to troubleshoot technical issues. Most clinicians (87%) expressed various concerns about VV. Providers across specialties generally agreed that VV reduced infection risk (71%) and transportation barriers (71%). Three overarching themes in the qualitative data included infrastructure and training, usefulness and expectation setting for patients and providers.

Discussion

As healthcare systems plan for future delivery directions, they must address the tension between patients’ and providers’ expectations of care within the digital space. Telehealth creates new friction, one where the healthcare system must fit into the patient’s life rather than the usual dynamic of the patient fitting into the healthcare system.

Conclusion

Telehealth infrastructure and patient and clinician technological acumen continue to evolve. Clinicians in this survey offered valuable insights into the directions healthcare organisations can take to right-size this healthcare delivery modality.

Holt, J. M., Cusatis, R., Mortensen, N., Wolfrath, N., Hyun, N., Winn, A. N., Brown, S.-A., Somai, M. M., Crotty, B. H.

Holt, J. M., Cusatis, R., Mortensen, N., Wolfrath, N., Hyun, N., Winn, A. N., Brown, S.-A., Somai, M. M., Crotty, B. H.

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