Specialist physicians' knowledge and beliefs about telemedicine: a comparison of users and nonusers of the technology

Telemed J E Health. 2007 Oct;13(5):487-99. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2006.0091.


Telemedicine as a technology has been available for nearly 50 years, but its diffusion has been slower than many had anticipated. Even efforts to reimburse providers for interactive video (IAV) telemedicine services have had a limited effect on rates of participation. The resulting low volume of services provided (and consequent paucity of research subjects) makes the phenomenon difficult to study. This paper, part of a larger study that also explores telemedicine utilization from the perspectives of referring primary care physicians and telemedicine system administrators, reports the results of a survey of specialist and subspecialist physicians who are users and nonusers of telemedicine. The survey examined self-assessed knowledge and beliefs about telemedicine among users and nonusers, examining also the demographic characteristics of both groups. Statistically significant differences were found in attitudes toward telemedicine between users and nonusers, but in many respects the views of the two groups were rather similar. Physicians who used telemedicine were aware of the limitations of the technology, but also recognized its potential as a means of providing consultation. Demographic differences did not explain the differences in the knowledge and beliefs of user and nonuser consultant physicians, although some of the differences may be explained by other aspects of the professional environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Specialization*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data