Telemedicine experiences and perspectives of healthcare providers in long-term care: A scoping review

J Telemed Telecare. 2021 Oct 19;1357633X211049206. doi: 10.1177/1357633X211049206. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: To consolidate existing evidence on experiences and perspectives of healthcare providers involved in telemedicine services in long-term residential care.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted. A systematic search for articles published in 2000-2021 was performed in CINAHL, Web of Science, PubMed, EMBASE and Scopus; further, relevant journals and grey literature websites were hand searched. Key search terms included 'telemedicine', 'telehealth' and 'nursing homes'.

Results: Twenty-six articles were included. A narrative synthesis of evidence was conducted. The review identified four themes: (1) Presence of multidisciplinary care, (2) perceived usefulness of telemedicine, (3) perceived ease of use and (4) expanded role of nursing home staff. The presence of multidisciplinary care providers provided a wide range of telemedicine services to residents and promoted interprofessional collaboration between acute and long-term care. Telemedicine was perceived to increase timely onsite management by remote specialists, which enabled care quality improvement. However, technical problems associated with equipment usage reduced the ease of use of telemedicine. Concerns emerged from the expanded role of nursing home staff, which could negatively affect clinical decision-making and create medico-legal risks.

Conclusion and implications: Telemedicine is valuable in distance-based care, especially in the current 2019 coronavirus pandemic, for supporting continuity of care to nursing home residents. This review provided evidence from multiple healthcare providers' perspectives. Further research can elucidate their specific roles and responsibilities in telemedicine and challenges in work processes, which will facilitate developing evidence-based competencies and improving technical infrastructure, thus contributing to personal and organisational readiness for telemedicine integration.

Keywords: Telemedicine; geriatrics; long-term care; perspectives; residential aged care.