Perception And Utilization Of Telehealth Services Among Home Health Care Agencies: A National Survey

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Social Welfare
chronic disease management
depression care
geriatric care
home health care
unified theory of acceptance and use of technology
Family, Life Course, and Society
Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies
Social Work
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Eun hae Kim Despite the widely known effectiveness of telehealth services in screening and treating both chronic disease and depression in older adults, their adoption among home health care agencies has been slow. Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical research on telehealth use, barriers, and facilitators of adoption in the home health sector. For these reasons, this study examined home health care staff perceptions and use of telehealth for chronic disease and depression care among older patients. Five hundred and sixteen staff from member home health care agencies of the National Association for Homecare and Hospice (NAHC) completed an online survey. The national survey comprised of 33 questions and was informed by the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model (Venkatesh et al., 2003) and Bobni’ Innovation Culture paradigm. Twenty staff also participated in a 45-minute qualitative telephone interview. The qualitative interview questions focused on telehealth experience and perceived barriers and facilitators to telehealth adoption. Among HHC agencies that reported using telehealth, telephone (63%) and remote-monitoring devices (56%) were the most utilized telehealth technology. Telehealth services included monitoring of health services (64%), chronic disease management (58%), and patient health education (43%). Telehealth was the least used for depression counseling (15%). Overall, there was a positive perception towards telehealth for patient care. However, telehealth was perceived more positively for chronic disease management (90.7%) than for depression care (53%). A majority (74%) perceived themselves as having the knowledge necessary to use telehealth for chronically ill patients while only 32% did for depressed patients. Results suggest that although there is a positive perception towards telehealth for patient care, there are other factors (e.g., lack of resources and reimbursement, training and buy-in from staff or patients) that affect HHC agencies’ adoption and use of telehealth. Therefore, further education is needed to support telehealth use for depression care. Additionally, there needs to be a reimbursement for telehealth visits by HHC agencies, as well as policies and regulations that ensure the quality of care provided by telehealth services. Future studies may consider comparing existing telehealth programs and identifying policies and regulations that are supportive of such programs.

Zvi D. Gellis
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