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Impact of Telemedicine in The Health Sector

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Table of contents

  1. Qualitative Research Interviews
  2. The Purpose of Research Interviews
    The Interview
  3. Focus Groups
  4. When Focus Groups Are Used
    Chiron Health
    Pros of Telemedicine
    Cons of Telemedicine

The healthcare sector substantially has developed over the years thanks to the convenience brought by the current technologies advancements. Nevertheless, there are still many difficulties that the industry has to deal with, especially when it comes to accessibility, provision, and convenience of services both for the patients and the medical providers.

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One of the answers the medical profession and the health sector have brought up to deal with these issues is telemedicine. What is telemedicine? It is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. Besides bringing patients and medical providers together via various modes of communication, telemedicine also supplies a way for healthcare professionals to consult with other physicians.

Earlier on, telemedicine was commonly used to provide a connection to doctors working with a patient in one location to specialists elsewhere. This was of great advantage to rural or hard to reach places where specialists aren’t easily and readily accessible. Throughout the next several decades, the equipment necessary to conduct remote visits remained expensive and complex, so the use of the approach, while growing, was limited.

The increased use of the internet brought with it significant changes to the telemedicine practices. The risen use of smart devices in the global market, capable of high-quality video. More so, consequentially the growth of today’s telemedicine is the rising mobile (smartphones) health field. With the various mobile health applications, new mobile medical devices that are user-friendly and patients are starting to use technology to observe and track their health. Basic home-use medical devices that can take signs and symptoms, and diagnose ear infections, monitor glucose levels, or measure blood pressure, lets patients gather needed medical information for use by the doctor to perform diagnosis, without booking a doctor’s appointment. And again, as more patients get signup to using technology to help manage their health status, they also will be more open to alternative ways to get attention – through telemedicine.

Having explored the nature and purpose of qualitative research, this article explores data collection techniques used in qualitative research. There are a variety of methods of data collection in qualitative research, i.e. observations, textual or visual analysis (e.g. from books or videos) and interviews (individual or group). However, the most common methods used, particularly in healthcare research, are interviews and focus groups.

Qualitative Research Interviews

There are three types of research interviews: structured, semi-structured and unstructured. Structured interviews are, verbally administered questionnaires, in which a list of predetermined questions are asked, with little variation and with no scope for follow-up questions to responses that require further clarity.

Conversely, unstructured interviews do not reflect any preexisting theories or ideas and are performed with little or no format. Such an interview may simply start with an opening question and will then progress based, primarily, upon the initial response.

Semi-structured interviews consist of several key questions that help to shape the areas to be discovered, but also allows the interviewer or interviewee to diverge in order to follow up an idea or response in more detail. This interview format is used most frequently in healthcare, as it provides participants with some guidance on what to talk about, which many find helpful.

The Purpose of Research Interviews

The aim of the research interview is to explore the views of various individuals on specific matters. Qualitative methods, such as interviews, are believed to enlighten us about social phenomena that would be obtained from purely quantitative methods, such as questionnaires. Interviews are, therefore, most appropriate where little is already known about the study phenomenon or where detailed insights are required from individual participants. They are also particularly appropriate for exploring sensitive topics, where participants may not want to talk about such issues in a group environment.

The Interview

When designing an interview schedule it is important to ask questions that are likely to yield as much information about the study phenomenon as possible and also be able to address the aims and objectives of the research. In a qualitative interview, questions should be open-ended (i.e., require more than a yes/no answer), neutral, sensitive and understandable. It is usually best to start with questions that participants can answer easily and then proceed to more advanced topics. This can help put respondents at ease, build up confidence and rapport and often generates rich data that subsequently develops the interview further.

The length of interviews varies depending on the topic, the researcher, and the participant. However, on average, healthcare interviews last 20-60 minutes. Interviews can be done on a one-off or, if change over time is of interest, repeated basis, for example exploring the psychosocial impact of oral trauma on participants and their subsequent experiences of cosmetic dental surgery.

Focus Groups

Focus groups share many common features with less structured interviews, but there is more to them than merely collecting similar data from many participants at once. A focus group is a group discussion on a particular topic organized for research purposes. This discussion is guided, monitored and recorded by a researcher (sometimes called a moderator or facilitator).

When Focus Groups Are Used

Focus groups are used for generating information on collective views, and the meanings that lie behind those views. They are also useful in generating a rich understanding of participants’ experiences and beliefs. Suggested criteria for using focus groups include:

• As a standalone method, for research relating to group norms, meanings, and processes

• In a multi-method design, to explore a topic or collect group language or narratives to be used in later stages

• To clarify, extend, qualify or challenge data collected through other methods

• To feedback results to research participants.


Moderating a focus group looks easy when done well, but requires a complex set of skills. The moderator should facilitate group discussion, keeping it focused without leading it. They should also be able to prevent the discussion being dominated by one member, ensure that all participants have ample opportunity to contribute, allow differences of opinions to be discussed fairly and, if required, encourage reticent participants.

Interviews and focus groups remain the most common methods of data collection in qualitative research and are now being used with increasing frequency in dental research, particularly to access areas not amenable to quantitative methods and/or where depth, insight, and understanding of particular phenomena are required.

Chiron Health

Is a website that promotes telemedicine to patients has never been easier. It promotes video visits to your patients with personalized campaigns. Custom web pages and automated email notifications allow you to announce your new service and keep patients informed about telemedicine in your practice.

It has the following key products: HIPAA-Compliant: Secure video over peer-to-peer connection and a signed BAA for each client; Co-Pay Collection: Accurate payment determination is processed through our insurance Rules Engine and deposited into your account; Patient Notifications: Once an appointment is scheduled, patients automatically receive an email to set up account and join appointment; Clinical Protocols: Customized telemedicine formula specific to your practice – Know exactly when and how to use telemedicine; Custom Patient Marketing: Easily market to patients about telemedicine with custom in-office and online materials; Streamlined Patient Workflow: Automated appointment reminder emails and an experience that mimics the in-office workflow with a virtual waiting room

How is Telemedicine impacting patients and providers? As a fast-growing field in the healthcare sector, telemedicine shows a lot of promise in solving various difficulties that health professionals and patients are facing today. Supplying a range of advantages for both patients and medical providers, it offers:

Pros of Telemedicine

Adopting the latest telemedicine initiatives can help your practice achieve numerous benefits.

1. More Convenient and Accessible Patient Care

According to a recent Cisco global survey, 74% of patients prefer easy access to healthcare services over in-person interactions with providers.

2. Healthcare Cost Savings

Remote analysis and monitoring services and electronic data storage significantly reduce healthcare costs, saving money for you, your patients, and insurance companies.

3. Extended Specialist and Referring Physician Access

With telehealth, patients in rural or remote areas benefit from quicker and more convenient access to specialists. These patients go through longer appointment travels and have trouble accessing lifesaving consultations for specific illnesses or chronic care plans.

4. Increased Patient Engagement

When patients are committed to improving their healthcare goals, it aims to lower costs and better healthcare service.

5. Better Patient Care Quality

Telemedicine offers ways to improve patient-centered approaches. This is critical to patient care quality. Patients can address healthcare issues quickly with real-time care consultations and learn about treatment alternatives quickly. A new study shows that telemedicine patients score lower for depression, anxiety, and stress, and have 38% fewer hospital admissions.

Cons of Telemedicine

While telemedicine shows no limit to its growth over the upcoming decades or so and has clear benefits, it still poses some technical and practical difficulties in the health sector.

1. Technical Training and Equipment

Restructuring IT staff responsibilities and purchasing equipment cost demanding. Training is crucial to building an effective telemedicine system. Physicians, specialists, and other medical staff require training on the new systems to ensure a solid ROI. On top of that, your staffing requirements may decrease.

2. Reduced Care Continuity

Keeping up with patients’ records and visits will be difficult due to patients using telemedicine services from a variety of medical specialist. This makes it hard for specialists to provide health services for maintaining patients’ details is the primary core of any health institution.

3. Fewer In-Person Consultations

Keeping in touch and regular patient visits to the clinic is a common activity in health institutions. This is a recent development in the industry and it will take time to adjust. Although telemedicine is a good alternative and the way to go.

4. Tricky Policies and Reimbursement Rules

Laws and policies always tend to take lots of time to be implemented. Such as the healthcare laws and rules may lag and take time to come into place. Hence this delays technological advancements in the health sector as technology continuously evolves very fast as compared to the implementation of the relevant policies. Recommendations

1. Improving patient assessment and review

Improving the process by which to assess and review telemedicine users to improve efficient use of resources via sites is important. Methods for improvement include additional information from clinicians referred to them for assessment.

2. Improving service delivery

Some sites aimed at improving the monitoring and triage of telemedicine patients’ process. Each using their own standardization, and therefore targeting elements of their service for improvement.

3. Improving data sharing and access

Sites work on improving sharing of data and access. Knowing that solutions to solve the interoperability issues between monitoring software and electronic patient record systems were not available.

4. Raising awareness of telemedicine

Spreading of information to raise awareness of telemedicine and related ideas for action for medical teams to use telemedicine, working closely with related groups and commissions; hosting events to boost telemedicine usage.

5. Improving evaluation of telemedicine

Evaluation and further research to understand telemedicine consequences was agreed upon. Divided opinions on the rationale of investments in telemedicine.

6. Securing financial investment for telemedicine

Long-term investments were recommended as to secure future investments in the health sector via telemedicine focused on establishing relationships with technology providers. Short-term funding was just a barrier.

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The short-term funding of telemedicine was identified as a barrier to implementation. To secure future investment, participants focused on establishing relationships with technology providers and local decision-makers; scoping out the potential of new technologies that were available; and identifying the needs of users and clinicians that could be addressed with telehealth. Only one site was able to secure financial investment during the study timeframe, and in two sites there were real concerns about the future of telehealth.

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