Factors influencing patients' preferences for telehealth applications in rheumatic diseases: a qualitative study
- At: PPR 2022 (2022)
- Type: Poster
- By: HAEGENS, Lex (Sint Maartenskliniek)
- Co-author(s): Lex Haegens, Phd Student, Sint Maartenskliniek, Netherlands
Jeffrey van der Ven, Radboud University Medical Center, Netherlands
Bart van den Bemt
Background: Telehealth applications provide greater and easier access to care and medical information, with the potential to improve patients’ health outcomes and patient empowerment. Patients with rheumatic diseases are known to experience drug-related problems at various points during their treatment. This population therefore can benefit from technologies that provide continuous information about their medication and continuous and accessible healthcare provider support. To most effectively employ telehealth for this purpose, it is important that such applications match patient needs and preferences.
Purpose: Identify factors influencing the preference of patients with rheumatic diseases regarding telehealth applications.
Methods: A qualitative descriptive study was performed in the Netherlands between May and June 2021. Face to face interviews were held with patients with a rheumatic disease using a semi-structured interview guide. First, patients were presented four telehealth applications: frequently asked questions page, digital human, chatting, and video calling with healthcare providers. Second, patients were asked to use each application to answer one medication-related question predefined by the research team. During the process of answering this question, patients were asked to think aloud and were asked about the factors that influenced their experience and preference for each application. Third, to elicit additional factors influencing application preference, patients were given additional hypothetical questions after which they were asked to explain which application they would prefer to use to help them answer the question. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically.
Results: Fifteen patients (19 – 73 years, 53% female) participated. Three domains influenced patients’ preference for telehealth applications. First, preference for telehealth applications was influenced by factors related to individual patients such as medication-related information needs, literacy, and skills with digital applications. Second, preference was influenced by factors related to the specific applications such as speed of answer, level of interaction, extent of privacy, the perceived usefulness of an application, and actual usability. Third, preference was influenced by factors related to the context in which telehealth applications are offered, such as user-support from healthcare providers, reliability of information source, and potential to save time for healthcare providers.
Conclusion: Patient preferences for telehealth applications are influenced by patient-related, application-related, and context-related factors. To effectively support patients with rheumatic diseases, a variety of telehealth applications should be applied according to the patients’ requirements.