Health Care Professionals' Experiences and Perspectives on Using Telehealth for Home-based Palliative Care: Scoping Review

J Med Internet Res. 2023 Mar 29:25:e43429. doi: 10.2196/43429.


Background: Telehealth seems feasible for use in home-based palliative care (HBPC). It may improve access to health care professionals (HCPs) at patients' homes, reduce hospital admissions, enhance patients' feelings of security and safety, and increase the time spent at home for patients in HBPC. HBPC requires the involvement of various HCPs such as nurses, physicians, allied health professionals, dietitians, psychologists, religious counselors, and social workers. Acceptance of the use of technology among HCPs is essential for the successful delivery of telehealth in practice. No scoping review has mapped the experiences and perspectives of HCPs regarding the use of telehealth in HBPC.

Objective: The aim of this review was to systematically map published studies on HCPs' experiences and perspectives on the use of telehealth in HBPC.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted using the methodology of Arksey and O'Malley. The review was reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for scoping reviews. A systematic search was performed in AMED, CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science for studies published in peer-reviewed journals between January 1, 2000, and August 23, 2022. The reference lists of the included papers were hand searched to identify additional studies. The inclusion criteria were (1) studies using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods; (2) studies including HCPs using telehealth with patients in HBPC; (3) studies on HCPs' experiences and perspectives on the use of telehealth in HBPC; (4) studies published between January 1, 2000, and August 23, 2022; and (5) studies published in English, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, or Spanish. Pairs of authors independently included studies and extracted data. The first 2 stages of thematic synthesis were used to thematically organize the data.

Results: This scoping review included 29 papers from 28 studies. Four descriptive themes were identified: (1) easy to use but technological issues undermine confidence, (2) adds value but personal and organizational barriers challenge adoption, (3) potential to provide useful and meaningful patient-reported data, and (4) mutual trust as a prerequisite for interpersonal relationships.

Conclusions: Telehealth in HBPC seems to be easy to use and may improve the coordination of care, time efficiency, clinical assessments, and help build and enhance personal and professional relationships. However, the introduction of technology in HBPC is complex, as it may not align well with the overall aim of palliative care from HCPs' point of view. Further, changes in practice and requirements for HCPs may reduce motivation for the use of telehealth in HBPC. HCPs consider themselves to have central roles in implementing telehealth, and a lack of acceptance and motivation is a key barrier to telehealth adoption. Policy makers and telehealth developers should be aware of this potential barrier when developing or implementing new technology for use in HBPC.

International registered report identifier (irrid): RR2-10.2196/33305.

Keywords: care; data; decision-making; feasibility; health technology; homecare services; palliative care; policy makers; review; technology; telehealth; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care
  • Physicians*
  • Telemedicine*