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Endocrinologists' Experiences With Telehealth: A Qualitative Study With Implications for Promoting Sustained Use.

Wong DH, Bolton RE, Sitter KE, Vimalananda VG. Endocrinologists' Experiences With Telehealth: A Qualitative Study With Implications for Promoting Sustained Use. Endocrine Practice : Official Journal of The American College of Endocrinology and The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. 2023 Feb 1; 29(2):104-109.

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OBJECTIVE: Endocrinology is well-suited to telehealth, with high rates of use and known benefits. Clinician attitudes toward telehealth will be critical to ensuring sustained use after the pandemic. We examined endocrinologists'' experiences with synchronous telehealth to identify factors affecting experiences with and acceptance of the technology. METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews and directed-content analysis with a purposive sample of 26 U.S. endocrinologists. Factors affecting clinicians'' experiences were mapped to the human-organization-technology fit (HOT-fit) framework. RESULTS: We found that clinicians'' experiences with synchronous telehealth were influenced by: (1) Clinician factors: Clinicians welcomed telehealth but expressed concerns about patient interest, rapport building, and clinical appropriateness, desiring more data to support its use. Many clinicians feared missing clinical findings on virtual examination, despite no such personal experiences. Effects on professional and personal life contributed to satisfaction, through increased flexibility but also increased workload. (2) Organizational factors: Departmental meetings and trainings supported clinicians'' technical, logistical, and clinical needs, reducing resistance to telehealth use. Shifting staff responsibilities in clinical workflows improved clinicians'' experiences and supported telehealth use, while mixed telehealth and in-person schedules impeded workflow. (3) Technology factors: Most clinicians preferred video visits to telephone. Usability and reliability of telehealth platforms, integration of patient self-monitoring data, and availability of IT support were crucial to a positive experience. CONCLUSION: Clinician acceptance of telehealth is influenced by clinician, organizational, and technology factors that can be leveraged to improve buy-in. Organizational leaders'' attention to addressing these factors will be critical to support endocrinologists'' continued provision of telehealth for their patients.

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