‘It was like he was in the room with us’: patients’ and carers’ perspectives of telemedicine in acute stroke.

Gibson, Josephine orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3051-1237, Lightbody, Catherine Elizabeth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5016-3471, McLoughlin, Alison Sarah Rachel orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5298-9306, Mcadam, Joanna orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8963-7240, Gibson, Ali Mary, Dey, E, Fitzgerald, Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5929-8652, May, C, Price, C et al (2016) ‘It was like he was in the room with us’: patients’ and carers’ perspectives of telemedicine in acute stroke. Health Expectations, 19 (1). pp. 98-111. ISSN 1369-6513

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hex.12333


Background: Telemedicine can facilitate delivery of thrombolysis in acute stroke. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore patients’ and carers’ views of their experiences of using a stroke telemedicine system in order to contribute to the development of reliable and acceptable telemedicine systems and training for health care staff.

Method: We recruited patients who had, and carers who were present at, recent telemedicine consultations for acute stroke in three hospitals in NW England. Semistructured interviews were conducted using an interview guide based on normalisation process theory (NPT). Thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: We conducted 24 interviews with 29 participants (16 patients; 13 carers). 11 interviews pertained to ‘live’ telemedicine assessments (at time of admission); 9 had mockup telemedicine assessments (within 48 hours of admission); 4 had both assessments. Using the NPT domains as a framework for analysis, factors relating to coherence (sensemaking) included people’s knowledge and understanding of telemedicine. Cognitive participation (relational work) included interaction between staff and with patients and carers.
Issues relating to collective action (operational work) included information exchange and support, and technical matters. Findings relating to reflexive monitoring (appraisal) included positive and negative impressions of the telemedicine process, and emotional reactions.

Conclusion: Although telemedicine was well-accepted by many participants, its use added an additional layer of complexity to the acute stroke consultation. The ‘remote’ nature of the consultation posed challenges for some patients. These issues may be ameliorated by clear information for patients and carers, staff interpersonal skills, and teamworking.

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