Background The Covid-19 pandemic provided new challenges and opportunities for patients and healthcare providers while accelerating the trend of digital healthcare transformation. This study explores the perspectives of healthcare professionals and managers on (i) drivers to the implementation of telemedicine services and (ii) perceived benefits and challenges related to the use of telemedicine across the Italian National Health Service.Methods An online cross-sectional survey was distributed to professionals working within 308 healthcare organisations in different Italian regions. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire (June-September 2021). Responses were analysed using summary statistics and thematic analysis.Results Key factors driving the adoption of telemedicine have been grouped into (i) organisational drivers (reduce the virus spread-80%; enhance care quality and efficiency-61%), (ii) technological drivers (ease of use-82%; efficacy and reliability-64%; compliance with data governance regulations-64%) and (iii) regulatory drivers (regulations' semplification-84%). Nearly all respondents perceive telemedicine as useful in improving patient care (96%). The main benefits reported by respondents are shorter waiting lists, reduced Emergency Department attendance, decreased patient and clinician travel, and more frequent patient-doctor interactions. However, only 7% of respondents believe that telemedicine services are more effective than traditional care and 66% of the healthcare professionals believe that telemedicine can't completely substitute in-person visits due to challenges with physical examination and patient-doctor relationships. Other reported challenges include poor quality and interoperability of telemedicine platforms and scarce integration of telemedicine with traditional care services. Moreover, healthcare professionals believe that some groups of patients experience difficulties in accessing and using the technologies due to socio-cultural factors, technological and linguistic challenges and the absence of caregivers.Conclusions Respondents believe that telemedicine can be useful to complement and augment traditional care. However, many challenges still need to be overcome to fully consider telemedicine a standard of care. Strategies that could help address these challenges include additional regulations on data governance and reimbursements, evidence-based guidelines for the use of telemedicine, greater integration of tools and processes, patient-centred training for clinicians, patient-facing material to assist patients in navigating virtual sessions, different language options, and greater involvement of caregivers in the care process.

Healthcare professional and manager perceptions on drivers, benefits, and challenges of telemedicine: results from a cross-sectional survey in the Italian NHS

Benevento, Elisabetta;Stefanini, Alessandro
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background The Covid-19 pandemic provided new challenges and opportunities for patients and healthcare providers while accelerating the trend of digital healthcare transformation. This study explores the perspectives of healthcare professionals and managers on (i) drivers to the implementation of telemedicine services and (ii) perceived benefits and challenges related to the use of telemedicine across the Italian National Health Service.Methods An online cross-sectional survey was distributed to professionals working within 308 healthcare organisations in different Italian regions. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire (June-September 2021). Responses were analysed using summary statistics and thematic analysis.Results Key factors driving the adoption of telemedicine have been grouped into (i) organisational drivers (reduce the virus spread-80%; enhance care quality and efficiency-61%), (ii) technological drivers (ease of use-82%; efficacy and reliability-64%; compliance with data governance regulations-64%) and (iii) regulatory drivers (regulations' semplification-84%). Nearly all respondents perceive telemedicine as useful in improving patient care (96%). The main benefits reported by respondents are shorter waiting lists, reduced Emergency Department attendance, decreased patient and clinician travel, and more frequent patient-doctor interactions. However, only 7% of respondents believe that telemedicine services are more effective than traditional care and 66% of the healthcare professionals believe that telemedicine can't completely substitute in-person visits due to challenges with physical examination and patient-doctor relationships. Other reported challenges include poor quality and interoperability of telemedicine platforms and scarce integration of telemedicine with traditional care services. Moreover, healthcare professionals believe that some groups of patients experience difficulties in accessing and using the technologies due to socio-cultural factors, technological and linguistic challenges and the absence of caregivers.Conclusions Respondents believe that telemedicine can be useful to complement and augment traditional care. However, many challenges still need to be overcome to fully consider telemedicine a standard of care. Strategies that could help address these challenges include additional regulations on data governance and reimbursements, evidence-based guidelines for the use of telemedicine, greater integration of tools and processes, patient-centred training for clinicians, patient-facing material to assist patients in navigating virtual sessions, different language options, and greater involvement of caregivers in the care process.
2023
Antonacci, Grazia; Benevento, Elisabetta; Bonavitacola, Sveva; Cannavacciuolo, Lorella; Foglia, Emanuela; Fusi, Giulia; Garagiola, Elisabetta; Ponsiglione, Cristina; Stefanini, Alessandro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1234407
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