Clinician Attitudes Toward Adoption of Pediatric Emergency Telemedicine in Rural Hospitals

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Abstract

Objective

Although there is growing evidence regarding the utility of telemedicine in providing care for acutely ill children in underserved settings, adoption of pediatric emergency telemedicine remains limited, and little data exist to inform implementation efforts. Among clinician stakeholders, we examined attitudes regarding pediatric emergency telemedicine, including barriers to adoption in rural settings and potential strategies to overcome these barriers.

Methods

Using a sequential mixed-methods approach, we first performed semistructured interviews with clinician stakeholders using thematic content analysis to generate a conceptual model for pediatric emergency telemedicine adoption. Based on this model, we then developed and fielded a survey to further examine attitudes regarding barriers to adoption and strategies to improve adoption.

Results

Factors influencing adoption of pediatric emergency telemedicine were identified and categorized into 3 domains: contextual factors (such as regional geography, hospital culture, and individual experience), perceived usefulness of pediatric emergency telemedicine, and perceived ease of use of pediatric emergency telemedicine. Within the domains of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, belief in the relative advantage of telemedicine was the most pronounced difference between telemedicine proponents and nonproponents. Strategies identified to improve adoption of telemedicine included patient-specific education, clinical protocols for use, decreasing response times, and simplifying the technology.

Conclusions

More effective adoption of pediatric emergency telemedicine among clinicians will require addressing perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use in the context of local factors. Future studies should examine the impact of specific identified strategies on adoption of pediatric emergency telemedicine and patient outcomes in rural settings.

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