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Implementing telemonitoring in primary care: Learning from a large qualitative dataset gathered during a series of studies

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Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Family Practice
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2018

Abstract

Background
Telemonitoring for long term conditions such as hypertension and diabetes has not been widely adopted despite evidence of efficacy in trials and policy support. The Telescot programme comprised a series of seven trials and observational studies of telemonitoring for long term conditions in primary care, all with an explanatory qualitative component which had been analysed and published separately. There were changes to the models of care within and between studies and combining datasets would provide a longitudinal view of the evolution of primary care based telemonitoring services that was not available in the individual studies, as well as allowing comparison across the different conditions monitored. We aimed to explore what drove changes to the way telemonitoring was implemented, compare experience of telemonitoring across the range of long term conditions, and identify what issues, in the experience of the participants, need to be considered in implementing new telemonitoring systems.

Method
Synthesis and thematic reanalysis of transcribed qualitative interview and focus group data from the Telescot programme adopting an interpretive description approach. All transcribed and coded text was re-read and data relating to the experience of the telemonitoring services, perceptions of future use and strategies for implementation were recoded into one consistent system. This was analysed thematically.

Results
The combined dataset contained transcribed qualitative interview and focus group data from 181 patients and 109 professionals. Four major themes were identified, using data, empowering patients, adjusting the model of care and system design.

Conclusion
Telemonitoring was valued by patients who found it empowering and convenient. This, combined with initial professional concern that increased surveillance may create dependency led to the development of a more patient led service. However, despite a number of initial concerns being addressed as the service evolved, primary care professionals identified a number of barriers to widespread routine adoption of telemonitoring, many of which could be addressed by improved system design.

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