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Change of Patients' Perceptions of Telemedicine After Brief Use

Telemedicine and e-Health. September 2011, 17(7): 530-535. doi:10.1089/tmj.2010.0208. Karlijn Cranen, Rianne Huis in't Veld, Maarten Ijzerman and Miriam Vollenbroek-Hutten. Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, The Netherlands. Department of Health Technology and Services Research, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. Department of Biomedical Signals and Systems/Telemedicine, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands.

Objective: This study aims to investigate whether patients' perceptions regarding a Web-based telemedicine service, for instruction and monitoring of an exercise program, change after brief use.

Materials and Methods: Thirty patients were allocated, matched on gender and age, to a control group (10) or an experimental group (20). After basic training, the experimental group was given a 15 min opportunity to use a Web-based telemedicine service. Patients' perceptions regarding the telemedicine service were measured using a questionnaire, based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). This questionnaire was administered to both the control and experimental group before and after the experimental group's intervention. Both groups were compared with respect to any change in perceptions related to the Web-based telemedicine service.

Results: The experimental group showed a significantly greater change on the TAM constructs perceived usefulness [F(1,27)=3.40, p =0.08] and perceived ease of use [F(1,27)=5.37, p=0.03] than the control group, who showed no statistically significant change of perceptions. Patients within the experimental group became significantly more positive about the usefulness and ease-of-use of the Web-based telemedicine program after a brief period of use.

Conclusions: These findings show that brief use of a Web-based telemedicine service has a significant positive effect on patients' perceptions of this service. Therefore, as patients do not have prior experience with innovative telemedicine services, offering patients a risk-free way to explore and experiment with the service can increase the development of accurate perceptions and user needs. Ultimately, this will increase patients' acceptance of telemedicine. Future studies should investigate the effect of continued usage on patients' perceptions of telemedicine.

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