Conclusion of the intervention study on telemedicine: User experience of patients with chronic diseases
In December 2019, the fieldwork in a large-scale intervention study at the Health Centre Trebnje was successfully completed. The intervention is part of the applied project “Understanding and analysis of users' needs for the development of e-services for integrated social and health care in the aging society” (project no. L5-9337; funding Slovenian Research Agency and Telekom Slovenije, d.d.; project leader: Andraž Petrovčič, PhD, other collaborating researchers: Vesna Dolničar, PhD, Simona Hvalič-Touzery, PhD and Katja Prevodnik, PhD).
The project aims to develop and evaluate an model of integrated health treatment and care for chronic diseases using telemedicine and telecare services that could be implemented on a system level into the clinical practice in Slovenia. As part of the intervention study, survey data were collected to evaluate the user experience of patients with telemedicine treatment and counselling. The research involved three partners: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Informatics (project coordinator), Telekom Slovenije d.d., and the University Clinical Centre Ljubljana.
The telemedicine bundle consisted of measuring devices (e.g. blood pressure gauge, glucometer) and communication devices (tablet with the app or mobile app on a smartphone) that supported two-way exchange and the transfer of data. The equipment was provided by Telekom Slovenije d.d., enabling healthcare professionals to remotely treat patients with one or more chronic health conditions as it supported a number of services that can facilitate the monitoring of chronic diseases by both healthcare professionals and patients. Prior investigations have shown that the use of such services can significantly improve not only the viability and outcomes of health treatment/care of patients but can also positively affect health-related aspects of patients’ quality of life.
The study involved the professional health team in the Health Centre Trebnje and 103 patients diagnosed with chronic disease (diabetes, arterial hypertension, or both). The data collection in the intervention study was based on survey questionnaires, which were administrated to participants in two waves. The first wave lasted for five months (January to June 2019) while the second wave was completed in three months (August to December 2019). A poster presentation “The importance of patients' user experience with a telehealth system for their evaluation of its psychosocial impacts” with the preliminary results of the first wave was given at the Smart Living Forum in Austria (November 14, 2019). The full results are forthcoming in an article that will be published in the conference proceedings.
The study was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency under Grants L5-9337 (Understanding and analysis of users' needs for the development of e-services for integrated social and health care in the aging society) and P5-0399 (Internet Research programme).