Is Telemedicine our cup of tea? A nationwide cross-sectional survey regarding doctors’ experience and perceptions

  • Laima Alam Bahria Town International Hospital, Rawalpindi
  • Mafaza Alam Registrar Operative Dentistry, Armed Forces Institute of Dentistry, Rawalpindi
  • Amina Mannan Malik Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad
  • Varqa Faraid Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University / School of Dentistry, Islamabad
Keywords: Chronic disease, Developing countries, Infrastructure, Survey, Telemedicine

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the experience and perceptions regarding Telemedicine and the perceived barriers among medical doctors.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey was carried out by enrolling practicing doctors of Pakistan with experience of ≥6 months by sending a validated and piloted questionnaire through email. Data collection was done from 10th October to 9th November 2020 after taking ethical approval from the concerned authorities. Data was analysed using SPSS v. 19.0.

Results: Two-hundred-forty responses were received with a response rate of 63%. Female participants (62.8%) were in majority and most of the participants were working in urban (88.5%) or semi-urban (9%) locality in either teaching (35.9%) or tertiary care hospitals (34.6%). Seventy-three percent of the doctors didn’t receive formal training with more than half of the doctors reporting non-availability of infrastructure and specific hardware. A large number of the participants were concerned regarding the non-availability of regulatory bodies, evaluations and accreditations of the service providers, the risks of malpractice, missed-diagnosis, prescription errors and medico-legal issues. The availability of specific infrastructure was statistically related to the hospital setup, locality and the specialty of the participants. Lack of technological literacy and infrastructure were considered the main constraints for the public in using telemedicine.

Conclusion: Evidence of effectiveness of telemedicine across different fields is inconsistent and lacks technical, legal, cultural and ethical considerations. Inadequate training, low level of technological literacy and lack of infrastructure are the main barriers in implementing tele-health. High-quality evidence based studies are required for practical and long-term policies.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.5.3970

How to cite this:
Alam L, Alam M, Malik AM, Faraid V. Is Telemedicine our cup of tea? A nationwide cross-sectional survey regarding doctors’ experience and perceptions. Pak J Med Sci. 2021;37(5):1319-1325. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.5.3970

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published
2021-07-15
How to Cite
Alam, L., Alam, M., Malik, A., & Faraid, V. (2021). Is Telemedicine our cup of tea? A nationwide cross-sectional survey regarding doctors’ experience and perceptions. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 37(5). https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.5.3970
Section
Original Articles