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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 132-137

Patient perspective on telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic at the cardiology outpatient clinic: Data from a qualitative study


1 Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
2 Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University; Philips Research, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
3 Department of Cardiology, Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mirela Habibovic
Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_39_21

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Background: Within the field of cardiology, telehealth has been advocated by many as important benefits have been demonstrated regarding disease management and survival. Both patient- and physician-related barriers have hampered the uptake of telehealth in the clinical practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the upscaling of telehealth modalities. Objective: The current study will examine patients' preferences, needs, and recommendations regarding the use of telehealth at the cardiology outpatient clinic during the pandemic. Methods: Semi-structured focus groups were organized covering two themes: (1) patients' experiences with telehealth and (2) patients' needs and recommendations regarding the use of telehealth. Focus groups were held online using Microsoft Teams, and audio recordings were made. After transcribing the recordings, thematic analysis was applied to code the answers that were given. Results: A total of n = 19 patients were recruited; the mean age was 62.4 (7.7) and 10 (52.6%) were female. The majority of the patients (15/19) indicated to be positive regarding telehealth use mainly due to its time-saving character. Four patients were negative toward telehealth as they did not receive appropriate care in their perception due to telehealth use. Patients recommend using blended care where teleconsultation, and face-to-face appointments are provided in accordance with patients' preferences. Conclusions: This is the first study to examine, in-depth, cardiac patients' experiences, needs, and recommendations regarding telehealth use in the clinical practice. Learning from current experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic where upscaling of telehealth emerged will give us a foundation to further increase the uptake of telehealth in the clinical practice.


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