Healthcare News & Insights

Doctors want to use telehealth tools, but need more training and support

Some recent surveys report that patients want to be able to use more mobile health tools and remote monitoring technologies, but their doctors aren’t providing them. And now a new report shows that doctors are willing to use telemonitoring — but only if their organization’s health IT department provides the proper training and support. 

The study, published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, involved 268 clinicians — 122 general practicioners, 15 pediatricians and 131 nurses. Those clinicians treated a group of 58 patients, and after normal treatments, 28 of them received follow-ups through telemonitoring systems.

Those systems transmitted data, including respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and weight, to the providers. The patients also answered a series of questions about their symptoms every day using the telemonitoring system.

A survey conducted among clinicians at the end of the study found that most perceived telemonitoring to be useful — however, the ease of use of the technology was rated much lower. Most of the doctors and nurses said they would be willing to use telemonitoring systems if they received adequate training and technical support.

Remote monitoring and other telehealth tools can have big advantages for providers and patients. For example, many hospitals report lower readmission rates after using remote monitoring because they can get a better idea of which patients do and don’t require an in-person visit. The technology can also be used to keep in touch with patients in between visits to better manage their treatment plans.

However, as the new study shows, it’s critical that health IT departments provide enough training before those systems are rolled out and make sure they’ve got the right staff on hand to provide support.

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