Finch, Tracy, Mort, Maggie, May, Carl and Mair, Frances
Telecare: perspectives on the changing role of patients and citizens
Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 11, (5), supplement 1, . (doi:10.1258/1357633054461679).
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We conducted a qualitative study in the UK to examine perspectives about telemedicine, telecare and e-health for the changing roles of patients and citizens. We believe there are important differences between these applications, but for simplicity, the term 'telecare' is used broadly here to include all three. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted between September 2002 and May 2004. Participants were 38 key informants from the UK, known to have involvement or interest in telecare: policy-makers, clinicians, technologists, health service managers, researchers and patient advocates. Interviews were conducted either in person or over the telephone, and were audio-recorded with participants' consent. The most frequently cited priorities for patients included accessibility to services, locations of care and quality of care, with some respondents emphasizing the importance of choice for the patient (in terms of appointments and ways of accessing services).
However, telecare has implications for patients that go beyond issues of access. A major problem is that 'priorities' are assumed rather than based on an empirical understanding; moreover, for individual patients, preferences for particular forms of service delivery are likely to represent trade-offs between multiple priorities. The findings of the present study confirm that concepts of the patient's rights and responsibilities are changing with the increasing use of new technologies to deliver health care.
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