Telemedicine has been touted as a solution to the problems of access to health care experienced by rural and other isolated populations. Few studies exist, however, that explain the differential use of telemedicine by patients. Patient utilization of this technology is likely to be predicted by both those factors that affect the adoption of new ideas, on the one hand, and those factors that affect the utilization of health care, on the other. These include (1) propensity factors such as education and ethnicity; (2) enabling factors such as income and health insurance, and (3) need characteristics such as the severity of the illness as well as factors that impact (4) accessibility. Data were collected from samples of patients who had experienced telemedicine in one of two rural locations in Texas. A second sample of patients who had not experienced telemedicine was drawn from these same locations for comparative purposes. Models were developed to differentiate among patients who would elect to use telemedicine for each of six hypothetical medical conditions versus the alternatives of consulting their local physician without the presence of telemedicine or travel to see a specialist. Separate models were developed for those patients who had previous experience with telemedicine and for those without such previous experience. Prior experience was associated with a greater willingness to use telemedicine for all but the most serious of medical conditions. Predisposition factors had the greatest impact on the more serious conditions (e.g., problem pregnancy and cancer), and enabling conditions as well as access factors were more likely to affect the less serious conditions (e.g., cough and rash).
Alex McIntosh, W., Alston, L.T., Booher, J.R., Sykes, D. and Segura, C.B. (2000), "Predictors of use of telemedicine for differing medical conditions", Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Health Care Providers, Institutions, and Patients: Changing Patterns of Care Provision and Care Delivery (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 199-213. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0275-4959(00)80046-0
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