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Patient perspectives of telemedicine quality

Authors LeRouge C, Garfield M, Hevner A

Received 10 May 2014

Accepted for publication 2 August 2014

Published 24 December 2014 Volume 2015:9 Pages 25—40


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Cynthia M LeRouge,1 Monica J Garfield,2 Alan R Hevner3

1Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO, 2Bentley University, Waltham, MA, 3University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the quality attributes required for effective telemedicine encounters from the perspective of the patient.
Methods: We used a multi-method (direct observation, focus groups, survey) field study to collect data from patients who had experienced telemedicine encounters. Multi-perspectives (researcher and provider) were used to interpret a rich set of data from both a research and practice perspective.
Results: The result of this field study is a taxonomy of quality attributes for telemedicine service encounters that prioritizes the attributes from the patient perspective. We identify opportunities to control the level of quality for each attribute (ie, who is responsible for control of each attribute and when control can be exerted in relation to the encounter process). This analysis reveals that many quality attributes are in the hands of various stakeholders, and all attributes can be addressed proactively to some degree before the encounter begins.
Conclusion: Identification of the quality attributes important to a telemedicine encounter from a patient perspective enables one to better design telemedicine encounters. This preliminary work not only identifies such attributes, but also ascertains who is best able to address quality issues prior to an encounter. For practitioners, explicit representation of the quality attributes of technology-based systems and processes and insight on controlling key attributes are essential to implementation, utilization, management, and common understanding.

Keywords: patient perspective, technology service encounters, health care operations, telemedicine, quality, field study, mixed methodology

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