Implementing a telehealth service: nurses' perceptions and experiences

Odeh, Bassel, Kayyali, Reem, Elnabhani-Gebara, Shereen and Philip, Nada (2014) Implementing a telehealth service: nurses' perceptions and experiences. British Journal of Nursing, 23(21), pp. 1133-1137. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


BACKGROUND: Telehealth is defined as the remote surveillance of a patient's health to aid early diagnosis and timely intervention. Understanding how the stakeholders perceive telehealth can influence its acceptability and diffusion. INTRODUCTION: A primary care trust (PCT) in south London has been providing telehealth services for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart-failure patients for the past 22 months. The aim of this study was to elicit practice nurses' perceptions of the telehealth service provided by this PCT. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A descriptive qualitative design was chosen to elicit practice nurses' perceptions. A semi-structured email interview was used to investigate their experiences of the service to date and their views about the future of the service. RESULTS: Seven nurses, working on telehealth for an average of 15 months and providing the service to 34 patients, were interviewed. Overall, the nurses described their experience with telehealth to be positive. Lack of resources, organisational support, patient selection criteria and technical support were identified as barriers to effective implementation of telehealth. Additional team members, more input and training, and expanded patient selection criteria were suggested by the nurses to enhance and ensure the success of telehealth. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The challenges and barriers to the implementation of telehealth identified by the practice nurses need to be addressed by health services to ensure its continuity and success.

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