Parental perceptions toward digital imaging and telemedicine for retinopathy of prematurity management
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Telemedicine is an emerging technology with potential to improve care for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This study evaluates parental perceptions about digital imaging and telemedicine for ROP care.
During a 1-year period, one parent of each infant who underwent wide-field retinal imaging for ROP was given a questionnaire designed to evaluate parental perceptions using a 5-point Likert-type scale. Five items assessed perceptions toward digital retinal imaging, and ten items assessed attitudes toward telemedicine. Construct validity of the questionnaire was examined using factor analysis. Responses were summarized using descriptive and correlational statistics.
Forty-two parents participated. Factor analysis extracted two factors explaining 79% of the total variance in digital retinal imaging items (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.843), and three factors explaining 63% of the total variance in telemedicine items (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.631). Among digital imaging items, the highest mean (±SD) score was for “digital pictures of my child’s retinopathy should be included in the permanent medical record” (4.4 ± 0.6), and the lowest was for “digital cameras and computers are reliable” (3.8 ± 0.8). Among telemedicine items, the highest mean (±SD) score was for “technology will improve the quality of medical care for my child” (4.3 ± 0.6), and the lowest was for “technology will make it harder for a patient and doctor to establish a good relationship” (2.6 ± 1.1).
Parents reported positive perceptions about telemedical ROP diagnosis, but expressed some preference for face-to-face care. Telemedicine has potential to alter the nature of the patient–physician relationship.
KeywordsRetinopathy of prematurity Retina Pediatric ophthalmology Telemedicine Medical informatics Survey
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