Usability Issues among End Users of Telehealth
Background of the Review
There is an increase in global aging populations and age-associated chronic diseases, and this increase has prompted a growing need for access to healthcare. Telehealth, a concept which embroils the distribution of information and health-associated services through telecommunication technologies and electronic data has been advancing to meet the need of access to healthcare (Hoffman, 2012). When using telehealth technologies, patient information can be shared, retrieved, stored and gathered by manifold disciplines as a way to enhance safety and quality in the delivery of patient care. As the needs of healthcare services are augmenting, information technology is also advancing to meet the demands of global populations. Telehealth technologies were started to enhance healthcare access and to lower the financial burden (Karim et al., 2013). Telehealth is growing continuously to provide healthcare globally. It is used as a way of assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing and evaluating data over distances and time.
According to Hoffman (2012) who carried out research using 281 out of 1976 articles to assess the benefits and ethical issues to using information technology in healthcare, the use of information technology in healthcare has several positive outcomes for end users. For instance, Hoffman discovered that telemedicine for home services and internet-based psychotherapy led to reduced mortality, enhanced safety from falls and improved medication compliance among end users. His study also recognized that elderly patients welcomed novel surveillance and technology of telehealth as it reduced their insecurities and fear. A study by Watanabe et al. (2012) revealed that the end users were highly satisfied with the features of the virtual clinic that they were using. About 6.8% of the study’s respondents mentioned that they felt discomfort using telehealth format or technology. Also, 19 of 44% of the physicians who took part in the study agreed that their patients were getting a valuable and easy time using telehealth services. Watanabe et al. (2012) also discovered that video conferencing is advantageous for home hospice nursing visits, education for patients and oncology consultations.
Although a lot of research has been done on the advantages of telehealth technologies in a bid to tout telehealth and encourage its wide adoption, few studies have investigated the usability issues associated with telehealth among end users (Watanabe at al., 2013: Karim et al., 2013: Timpano, 2013). It is because of this reason that this review sought to identify and report on the alleged usability issues of among end users of telehealth. The purpose of this review was to assess data that support issues to using telehealth technologies. This information can be utilized by healthcare providers to adjust existing practices and implement new programs in an effort to improve the delivery of healthcare services for worldwide populations. Perception of using telehealth technologies by end users as well as healthcare providers can be used to improve the system design of telehealth technologies.
Aim and Objective
The main aim of the study was to identify issues associated with the usability of telehealth among its end users. The objective of the study was to critically synthesize relevant literature to summarize the major issues among end users of telehealth.
Even though there are many benefits to using telehealth, there are usability issues among the end users of telehealth technologies. Watanabe et al. (2012) discovered that some end users had to travel long distanced to visit the healthcare facilities offering telehealth services for pain management. Another problem associated with telehealth and identified in the study was that patient appointment took a long time to enter into the telehealth system as opposed to the traditional handwritten system. Wade, Shaw, and Cartwright (2012) discovered that inaccurate readings are one of the usability issues facing end users of telehealth technologies. The reading errors can have adverse negative effects for the end users. It is hazardous because it offers false information to medical staff who may make wrong medical prescriptions that can eventually harm a patient. Non-reporting of telehealth technology readings withholds crucial information required for health practitioners to develop a plan of care for patients and may result in negative effects on the patients.
Hoffman (2012) proposes that the enactment of technology can be age discriminating by advancing inequalities and differences. It is not fair for family members to be expected to learn how to use telehealth technology since this added responsibility can change family ties. Additionally, the Hoffman study posits that tracking and monitoring telehealth devices can infringe the confidentiality, surveillance, autonomy, and privacy of an individual. Novitzky et al. (2015) suggest that introduction, use, and development of telehealth technologies prompt adverse issues. The end users of telehealth technologies often have distinctive requirements and needs which may not be immediately obvious to the researchers and developers of telehealth technologies. In this line of thinking the study by Novitzky et al. (2015) highlights the significance of user involvement in R&D of telehealth to avoid issues of mismatch of the functions of telehealth devices with the needs of the end users. Furthermore, users can refuse a new telehealth device if their input was not considered in the R&D process of developing the device.
Another usability issue of telehealth identified by Novitzky et al. (2015) is the increasing dependence on telehealth devices
Activate subscription to View the Whole Post