Knowledge, Attitude, and Perception of Health Care Personnel Working in Intensive Care Units of Mass Gatherings Toward the Application of Telemedicine Robotic Remote-Presence Technology: A Cross-Sectional Multicenter Study

Telemed J E Health. 2021 Mar 9. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2020.0469. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: The innovative telemedicine robotic remote-presence technology offers a promising solution to confront the challenges faced by health care personnel during events of mass gatherings by consulting expertise from offsite settings. Objective: To assess knowledge, attitude, and perceptions of health care personnel (physicians and nurses) toward telemedicine robotic remote-presence technology, at the intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals serving mass gathering. Methods: The primary sampling unit included physicians and nurses using the sophisticated technology of telemedicine with robotic presence at the ICUs of Mina hospitals. An electronic invitation containing the survey tool was sent to all the participants from the four selected hospitals. Mean scores for knowledge and attitude questions were based on Likert scale responses. Result: The study received a final sample of 140 valid and complete responses. The findings showed overall positive attitude, but the knowledge was limited. On a maximum score of 5, the mean knowledge and attitude scores obtained were 2.55 and 3.51. The participants expressed strong agreement in using technology to seek expert opinion, increase communication among providers, and improve clinical decisions, which is an essential factor during mass gatherings. However, concerns about patient privacy and confidentiality were raised. Lack of training and insufficient knowledge regarding telemedicine and robotic systems' applications were identified as significant barriers, followed by issues related to equipment malfunction. Conclusion: Reinforcing continuous training programs to the health care staff to maximize the potential benefits of the innovative technology is suggested.

Keywords: health care personnel; intensive care unit; remote consultation; telemedicine.