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Consumer preferences, experiences, and attitudes towards telehealth: Qualitative evidence from Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-16, 03:19 authored by K Toll, L Spark, B Neo, R Norman, S Elliott, L Wells, J Nesbitt, I Frean, Suzanne RobinsonSuzanne Robinson
In Australia, telehealth is not new, with several telehealth specialist services being available for those living in rural and remote communities. However, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was not routinely available for primary care or urban specialist appointments. There has been an increased focus in the use of telehealth within primary care, and particularly general practice, but overall, there has been limited research to date to guide telehealth best-practice based on consumer experiences and preferences within these settings. We aimed to capture the consumer experience of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, through a novel Kitchen Table Discussion (KTD) method. This increases access to a broader community consumer cohort, with consumer hosts leading discussions in a safe environment. The KTDs were conducted in May 2021, with 10 community members each hosting a group of up to 10 participants. A total of 90 participants took part from across Australia, with the majority living in major cities, although a significant proportion lived in inner and outer regional areas of Australia, or had experience living in rural, regional or remote areas. Seventy percent of participants reported using telehealth in the past. Data were analysed sequentially using thematic analysis and identified key themes: modality, convenience, access, wait time, existing relationship, communication, connectivity, cost, and privacy. Overall, the future of telehealth looks hopeful from the perspective of the consumer, but significant improvements are required to improve consumer engagement and experience. It is evident that ‘one size does not fit all’, with results suggesting consumers value the availability of telehealth and having choice and flexibility to use telehealth when appropriate, but do not want to see telehealth replacing face-to-face delivery. Participants tended to agree that telehealth was not a preferred method when physical examination was required but would suit certain points of the patient journey.

History

Journal

PLoS ONE

Volume

17

Article number

ARTN e0273935

Location

United States

ISSN

1932-6203

eISSN

1932-6203

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Editor/Contributor(s)

Baig M

Issue

8 August

Publisher

PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE

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