Objectives: In this study, we explored crucial factors that explain a person's attitude toward and his or her assessment of telemedical systems. Special focus lies on the link between the perspective of physicians (telemedicine users) and technicians (telemedicine designers) to find potential barriers hindering the broad application of telemedical systems in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
Methods: A survey among medical professionals (n = 34), technical professionals (n = 39), and a control group (n = 44) was conducted. The collected data were assessed in terms of domain knowledge, attitudes toward telemedicine, and potential implementation barriers.
Results: Participants favored the conventional method over telemedical monitoring in regards to privacy, security, and time efficiency. In contrast, telemedicine was preferred with reference to efficiency of data analysis, long-term care, and emergency adequacy. Significant differences between the professional groups were found regarding perceived cost effectiveness, patients’ compliance, privacy protection, and false alarm sensitivity. Medical professionals exhibited the most reluctance toward using telemedical treatments.
Conclusions: The perceived drawbacks are attributed to a general uncertainty about the reliability of telemedical systems, in combination with concerns about personal data privacy, security, and loss of control. The reported fear of not being able to correctly use and handle the systems assumes a low usability of devices. To acquaint medical professionals with the benefits and limitations of telemedical systems, telemonitoring and tele-treatment should be included in the education of medical personnel at an early stage.
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