The professional agenda and its effect on the implementation of telemedicine among primary care physicians: A qualitative study

Avivit Golan Cohen*, Yossi Tal, Daniel Hersh, Shlomo Vinker, Eugene Merzon, Ilan Green, Ariel Isrel, Atalia Tuval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Studies show that physicians’ attitudes are a major influential factor in the degree of implementation of telemedicine and that most of them identify much more opportunities in this type of visit than risks. These findings do not explain the observed decrease in the use of telemedicine in primary care with the decline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of our study was to understand the gap between the attitudes that primary care physicians declare towards telemedicine and the extent to which they use it in practice. Methods: A qualitative research using a semi-structured phone interview with 33 primary care physicians experienced in telemedicine from Leumit Health Services, a health fund in Israel. A qualitative thematic analysis method was used to extract the main themes from all interviews, and descriptive statistical tests were used to analyze the demographic variables. Results: The attitude of the physicians depended on the perception of their professional identity and their sense of control over telemedicine implementation. The more established their professional identity and the stronger the support from the organization in the technology integration, the more positive the physician's attitude towards this type of visit. Discussion: Healthcare organizations that wish to improve the use of telemedicine in primary care should understand that this is more than just the implementation of new technology: they must find a way to properly support the profound change that doctors must undergo when defining their new role and professional status.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Telemedicine
  • implementation
  • primary care physicians
  • professional identity

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