Telehealth interventions are feasible and efficacious. While patients are the focus of both quantitative and qualitative studies that assess their response to telehealth, little is known about the view of providers of telehealth services. The purpose of this study was to better understand the experiences of providers and the factors that they perceive to contribute to the success of telehealth interventions as well as to their own satisfaction. Face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted with 10 diabetes educators (nurses and dietitians) who served as providers of a telemedicine case management intervention for older adults who have diabetes. Qualitative analyses revealed that providers were very satisfied with their experience and felt their efforts with patients were generally successful. Providers also identified a number of unique benefits to telehealth interventions. These included opportunities for more frequent contact with patients, greater relaxation and information due to the ability to interact with the patients in their own homes, increased ability to reach the underserved, more timely and accurate medical monitoring, and improved management of data. The primary disadvantages of telehealth they identified were technology problems and a concern about the lack of physical contact with patients. Findings illustrate providers’ perspectives on the unique advantages of telehealth and offer insight as to how to make telehealth interventions more effective, as well as more satisfying for those who do the day-to-day work of providing the interventions.
Sandberg, Jonathan, Paula M. Trief, Roberto E. Izquierdo, Robin Goland, Philip C. Morin, Walter Palmas, Carly D. Larson, James G. Strait, Steven Shea, and Ruth S. Weinstock. “A qualitative study of the experiences and satisfaction of direct telemedicine providers in diabetes case management.” Telemedicine and e-Health 15, no. 8 (October 15, 2009): 742-750.