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Primary Health Care Providers’ Perspectives on Developing an eHealth Tool for Physical Activity Counselling: A Qualitative Study

Authors Wattanapisit A, Wattanapisit S, Tuangratananon T, Amaek W, Wongsiri S, Petchuay P

Received 21 December 2020

Accepted for publication 22 January 2021

Published 10 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 321—333

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S298390

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Apichai Wattanapisit,1,2 Sanhapan Wattanapisit,3 Titiporn Tuangratananon,4 Waluka Amaek,5 Sunton Wongsiri,6 Prachyapan Petchuay1

1Department of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand; 2Family Medicine Clinic, Walailak University Hospital, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand; 3Primary Care Unit, Thasala Hospital, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand; 4International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand; 5College of Graduate Studies, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand; 6Department of Orthopedics, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand

Correspondence: Apichai Wattanapisit
School of Medicine, Walailak University, 222, Thaiburi, Thasala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand
Tel +66 7567 2801
Fax +66 7567 2807
Email apichai.wa@wu.ac.th

Purpose: Physical inactivity is a global health concern. Physical activity (PA) counselling is an effective intervention for promoting PA in primary health care (PHC) settings. The use of electronic health (eHealth) technology has the potential to support PA counselling. This study aimed to explore PHC providers’ perspectives on the development of an eHealth tool to aid PA counselling in the resource-limited settings.
Methods: This qualitative study employed interpretive phenomenology. The study was conducted at hospital-based PHC clinics among physicians and registered nurses. Data collection involved in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs). An inductive thematic approach was used to analyze the data.
Results: Three physicians participated in three IDIs and 12 nurses participated in four FGDs at three hospitals. The median age of the participants was 43 years. Participants saw 15– 100 patients/day (median 40) and spent 2– 20 min with each patient (median 5). Three themes emerged. Theme 1: requirements for PA counselling: the participants reflected the needs and characteristics of eHealth tool that may support PA counselling. Theme 2: enabling an eHealth tool for PA counselling: the eHealth should be easy to use, provide PA prescription function, and support follow-up PA counselling. Theme 3: reducing barriers to PA counselling: the eHealth tool was expected to help reduce service and workforce barriers and patients’ limitations.
Conclusion: A well-designed and practical eHealth tool has the potential to improve PA counselling practice in PHC settings. The eHealth tool may affect an indirect mechanism to reduce barriers to PA counselling. Future research should focus on the usability and utility as well as the process evaluation of the PA counselling eHealth tool that will be implemented in resource-limited settings.

Keywords: counselling, eHealth, exercise, physical activity, primary health care

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