The Worker Perspective in Telehealth

The Worker Perspective in Telehealth

Yvette Blount (Macquarie University, Australia) and Marianne Gloet (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch088
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Globally, the adoption of telehealth service delivery has been slow and disappointing. The potential of telehealth, for example to reduce health care costs, increase efficiency and effectiveness, provide better quality and more equitable access to health services, has not yet been realized (Jang-Jaccard, Nepal, Alem, & Li, 2014; van Dyke, 2014). The stated benefits of telehealth adoption include patients not having to travel long distances to access health services, reduced costs for both the patients and the public health system, access to expertise and training by remote health care workers and better connection of services (Beatriz Alkmim et al., 2012; Jang-Jaccard et al., 2014).

There are many stakeholders involved in the successful adoption of telehealth. Jang-Jaccard et al. (2014, p. 496) identified four main stakeholders: 1) governments; 2) telehealth application developers and service providers; 3) health professionals; and 4) patients (including family and community support). There are numerous research studies that attempt to identify both the barriers and facilitators of telehealth adoption. The overarching theme is that adoption of telehealth is more complex and time-consuming than had previously been anticipated (S Mair et al., 2012). Indeed, the adoption, use and diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in health care is generally much lower than in other areas of our lives such as work and leisure (Christensen and Remler, 2009; Cho et al., 2007).

There is limited research on the implications of telehealth delivery from the perspective of the health care professionals (workers). Telehealth health care providers work from a variety of locations such as their homes, from call centres, family doctor surgeries and health clinics. Roberts, Mort, and Milligan (2012) note that workers that interact with clients (patients) to provide ICT enabled health care services have specific skills and capabilities to be able to provide the required level of care effectively and efficiently.

This chapter examines the perspectives of telehealth delivery from the perspectives of the health care professionals in this field.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business Practice: The human experience and skills required for delivering a service repeatedly.

Telemedicine: Telemedicine being a subset of telehealth, uses communications networks for delivery of healthcare services and medical education from one geographical location to another.

Business model: A plan on to successfully operate a business including revenue sources and customer demographics/specialties.

EHealth: All uses of ICT used in providing health care.

ICT: Information and Communications Technology

Telehealth: Is a subset of eHealth and refers to preventative, promotive and curative health care delivered over a distance.

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