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Dang S, Ruiz DI, Klepac L, Morse S, Becker P, Levy CR, Kinosian B, Edes TE. Key Characteristics for Successful Adoption and Implementation of Home Telehealth Technology in Veterans Affairs Home-Based Primary Care: An Exploratory Study. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2019 Apr 1; 25(4):309-318.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) program provides care to over 37,000 high-risk, high-need, medically complex, and costly patients in their home. The VA's Home Telehealth (HT) program can potentially amplify HBPC's efficiency and reach, yet scarce data on use and experience with HT in HBPC exist. This exploratory study sought to provide a glimpse of HT use in HBPC and identify drivers and barriers for HT implementation. DESIGN: National VA data were used to evaluate HBPC patients concurrently using HT. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of HBPC program directors to explore HT use, understand communication processes, and elicit open comments. Semistructured interviews were conducted of 18 HBPC program directors with varying HT use to clarify themes and understand HBPC experience with HT. RESULTS: Fifteen percent of the overall HBPC patients used HT in 2011, with a wide variation in HT use by HBPC site. The national survey and semistructured interviews revealed that most HBPC staff recognized advantages of using HT, including increased patient engagement and staff efficiency. Crucial practices among sites with successful telehealth adoption included HT staff attending HBPC meetings and evaluating all HBPC patients for HT. CONCLUSION: Much remains to be done for effective HT integration in HBPC. Improving communication between HT and HBPC programs and establishing a system for identifying suitable patients for HT are vital. Future studies need to delineate operational processes and gather data on the added value of HT in HBPC to guide evidence-based integration of HT in VA and Medicare HBPC programs.