Telemedicine in Primary Care: Qualitative Work Towards a Framework for Appropriate Use
Featuring Jodi Segal, Vadim Dukhanin, Stacey Davis
Introduction: Telemedicine has been implemented in many health systems by necessity, yet evidence is sparse about its appropriate use for the delivery of primary care. We sought to understand what clinicians and patients consider to be appropriate use of telemedicine in primary care to inform future development of a framework that should be valuable to diverse stakeholders.
Methods: We conducted in-depth, structured interviews of patients, clinicians who deliver primary care, and other select informants. They were asked to discuss optimal, acceptable, and suboptimal uses of telemedicine for delivering care relative to in-person care delivery. Audio was transcribed and paired reviewers analyzed the content to identify the key concepts that motivated the informants. The reviewers did thematic analysis to organize the concepts into unifying themes.
Results: Our 18 key informants generated 103 unique concepts. The unique concepts aggregated into themes suggesting the clinical situations in which telemedicine is appropriately used in primary care and clinical situations in which it should be avoided. We also learned of motivators toward expanded, or at least continued, use of telemedicine and motivators away from telemedicine's continued use. The informants expressed their expectations regarding decision making about telemedicine use and who should make these decisions.
Discussion: These key concepts and themes are expected to be a valuable starting point for the development of a framework to inform appropriate use of telemedicine in primary care.
Segal, J. B., Dukhanin, V., & Davis, S. (2022). Telemedicine in primary care: Qualitative work towards a framework for appropriate use. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 35(3), 507-516. https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2022.03.210229