[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We conducted semistructured interviews with telemedicine program administrators as part of a national survey of physicians and managers regarding attitudes toward, and knowledge of, telemedicine. Telemedicine administrators were interviewed regarding factors affecting physician adoption of interactive video (IAV) telemedicine. The seven networks with which these managers were affiliated represented "traditional" telemedicine programs, primarily providing specialty teleconsultation via IAV. These programs were located in different geographic regions, and included both consulting and referring sites. We include data only for well-established networks for which multiple administrators responded. Data were analyzed using standard qualitative research methods. We conclude that reimbursement issues are important determinants of the rate of adoption, but that by themselves they do not fully account for the slow diffusion of IAV telemedicine. Likewise, appeals to physicians as rational decision-makers are necessary but insufficient means of increasing the volume of telemedicine within a network. Telemedicine networks and administrators that have been effective in persuading physicians to practice telemedicine or to refer patients demonstrate an emphasis on aggressive recruitment of physicians who will be involved actively in one or the other role. Most efforts to encourage physicians to adopt telemedicine, however, have focused on the supply of specialists, rather than stimulating demand among primary care providers who have patients to refer. Habit was identified as an important, albeit overlooked, factor explaining physician adoption of telemedicine.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2008 · Telemedicine and e-Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telemedicine as a technology has been available for nearly 50 years, but its diffusion has been slower than many had anticipated. Even efforts to reimburse providers for interactive video (IAV) telemedicine services have had a limited effect on rates of participation. The resulting low volume of services provided (and consequent paucity of research subjects) makes the phenomenon difficult to study. This paper, part of a larger study that also explores telemedicine utilization from the perspectives of referring primary care physicians and telemedicine system administrators, reports the results of a survey of specialist and subspecialist physicians who are users and nonusers of telemedicine. The survey examined self-assessed knowledge and beliefs about telemedicine among users and nonusers, examining also the demographic characteristics of both groups. Statistically significant differences were found in attitudes toward telemedicine between users and nonusers, but in many respects the views of the two groups were rather similar. Physicians who used telemedicine were aware of the limitations of the technology, but also recognized its potential as a means of providing consultation. Demographic differences did not explain the differences in the knowledge and beliefs of user and nonuser consultant physicians, although some of the differences may be explained by other aspects of the professional environment.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2007 · Telemedicine and e-Health