Personalized Telehealth: Redesigning Complex Care Delivery for the 65+ During the COVID Pandemic: a Survey of Patients, Caregivers, and Health-care Providers
Keywords:telehealth, barriers, patient engagement, survey
In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rapid transitions have been made towards telehealth. Optimal use of telehealth in elderly patients remains poorly understood and adaptation challenges persist. Our study aimed at identifying perceptions, barriers, and possible facilitators to telehealth use amongst elderly patients with comorbidities, their caregivers, and health-care providers (HCPs).
Health-care providers, patients 65 years and older with multiple comorbidities, and caregivers were recruited from outpatient clinics and invited to complete an electronic self-administered or telephone-administered survey on their perceptions of telehealth and of barriers to its implementation.
A total of 39 health-care providers, 40 patients, and 22 care-givers responded to the survey. Most patients (90%), caregivers (82%), and HCPs (97%) had experienced telephone visits, but few were conducted via videoconference platforms. Patients and caregivers showed interest in pursuing some future telehealth visits (68%, 86%, respectively), but felt they lacked access to technology and skills (n=8, 20%), and some felt that telehealth visits may be inferior to in-person visits (n=9, 23%). HCPs showed interest in incorporating telehealth visits into practice (n=32, 82%), but identified challenges in lack of administrative support (n=37), lack of HCP (n=28) and patient (n=37) technological skills, and limited infrastructure (n=37)/internet access (n=33).
Older patients, caregivers, and HCPs show interest in pursuing future telehealth visits but elucidate similar barriers. Facilitating access to technology, as well as to administrative and technology support guides, could promote high quality and equal access to virtual care for the older adult.
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