Experiences of Older Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions in the Intensive Ambulatory Care Home Telehealth Program
Aim: A study was conducted to explore the experiences of older patients with chronic conditions in a home telehealth program, Philips’ Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC) at Banner Health in Phoenix AZ, which targets complex chronic patients. Methods: A purposive sampling approach was followed. The number of participants in the sample depended on data saturation. Interviews were conducted at participants’ homes and audio recorded. Interviews were transcribed and the text was analyzed. An inductive approach to the analysis was adopted, whereby explanations and patterns were sought with a bottom-up approach. Specifically, first, codes were identified and created. Then, data (text) was assigned to codes. The emerging themes were captured. Results: Patients (N = 16) named benefits to being in the IAC program, including staying out of the hospital, feeling safe and having an increased peace of mind, practical and emotional support, and usefulness of the services provided within the program (e.g. pharmacological services, social work). Participants described many benefits of the program in comparison to their previous care, including reduced time to get an answer to a medical issue, increased access to doctors, better communication with medical staff, less travel time to receive care and more personal attention. Patients indicated that their experiences in the program change over time. Starting out, they experience confusion relating to new services, technologies and care professionals, which subsides over time. Many participants appreciated the support provided by professionals within the program. Most participants also accepted the technology and could easily use it, although for a minority of participants technology use and attitudes towards technology remain a challenge to adequate program engagement. Conclusion: Patients perceive many benefits to being in an intensive ambulatory home telehealth program and have in general positive experiences with it. Challenges include acclimating to telehealth and, for some patients, technology adoption and use.
KeywordsTelehealth Experiences Acceptance Chronic disease management
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