Evaluating the Implementation of a Mobile Phone-Based Telemonitoring Program: Longitudinal Study Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Jul 31;6(7):e10768. doi: 10.2196/10768.


Background: Telemonitoring has shown promise for alleviating the burden of heart failure on individuals and health systems. However, real-world implementation of sustained programs is rare.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the implementation of a mobile phone-based telemonitoring program, which has been implemented as part of standard care in a specialty heart function clinic by answering two research questions: (1) To what extent was the telemonitoring program successfully implemented? (2) What were the barriers and facilitators to implementing the telemonitoring program?

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal single case study. The implementation success was evaluated using the following four implementation outcomes: adoption, penetration, feasibility, and fidelity. Semistructured interviews based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) were conducted at 0, 4, and 12 months with 12 program staff members to identify the barriers and facilitators of the implementation.

Results: One year after the implementation, 98 patients and 8 clinicians were enrolled in the program. Despite minor technical issues, the intervention was used as intended. We obtained qualitative data from clinicians (n=8) and implementation staff members (n=4) for 24 CFIR constructs. A total of 12 constructs were facilitators clustered in the CFIR domains of inner setting (culture, tension for change, compatibility, relative priority, learning climate, leadership engagement, and available resources), characteristics of individuals (knowledge and beliefs about the intervention and self-efficacy), and process (engaging and reflecting and evaluating). In addition, we identified other notable facilitators from the characteristics of the intervention domain (relative advantage and adaptability) and the outer setting (patient needs and resources). Four constructs were perceived as minor barriers- the complexity of the intervention, cost, inadequate communication among high-level stakeholders, and the absence of a formal implementation plan. The remaining CFIR constructs had a neutral impact on the overall implementation.

Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of a mobile phone-based telemonitoring program. Although the acceptability of the telemonitoring system was high, the strongest facilitators to the implementation success were related to the implementation context. By identifying what works and what does not in a real-world clinical context using a framework-guided approach, this work will inform the design of telemonitoring services and implementation strategies of similar telemonitoring interventions.

Keywords: Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research; eHealth; heart failure; implementation; telemonitoring.