E-Health, another mechanism to recruit and retain healthcare professionals in remote areas: lessons learned from EQUI-ResHuS project in Mali

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2014 Dec 24:14:120. doi: 10.1186/s12911-014-0120-8.

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the perceived influence of telehealth on recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in remote areas in Mali.

Methods: After 15 months of diagnosis imaging training and telehealth activities at four project sites in remote Mali, between May 2011 and August 2012, a 75-item questionnaire was administered to healthcare professionals to assess the various factors related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially telehealth, and their influence on health personnel recruitment and retention. Questions assessing perceived impact of telehealth on recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals were rated on a five-point Likert scale. Dependent variables were perceived influence of ICT on recruitment and retention and independent variables were access to ICT, ICT training, ICT use, perceived benefits and drawbacks of telehealth, and perceived barriers to recruitment and retention. A multiple linear regression was performed to identify variables explaining the respondents' perceptions regarding telehealth influence on recruitment and retention.

Results: Data analysis showed that professionals in remote areas have very positive perceptions of telehealth in general. Many benefits of telehealth for recruitment and retention were highlighted, with perceived benefits of ICT (p = 0.0478), perceived effects of telehealth on recruitment (p = 0.0018), telehealth training (0.0338) and information on telehealth (0.0073) being the strongest motivators for recruitment, while the perceived effects of telehealth on retention (p = 0.0018) was the only factor significantly associated with retention.

Conclusions: Based on our study results, telehealth could represent a mechanism for recruiting and retaining health professionals in remote areas and could reduce the isolation of these professionals through networking opportunities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Education, Continuing / methods
  • Education, Continuing / organization & administration
  • Education, Continuing / trends
  • Education, Distance / methods
  • Education, Distance / standards*
  • Education, Distance / trends
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Mali
  • Middle Aged
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Telemedicine*
  • Workforce