Patient Acceptance

Evidence has shown that patients are more accepting of technological change than clinical professionals expect.  Their acceptance is rarely a major barrier ("I'm all about making out patient experience so much easier and better and that is what we strive for so to have someone else with these ideas wanting to move the service forward then absolutely, it was never a question of whether we would participate or not, it was when do you start?" - 'Teleswallowing': A case study of remote swallowing - Emerald).  However some patients are more accepting than others, especially if the alternative means a longer wait to get medical attention.

There are a number of factors that should be considered and used to develop the service.  Some of these can be addressed by providing guidance and training to patient users.  Other factors may mean that the service has to be modified (e.g. the patient may need to be supported by a carer or care professional or only certain patients may be selected).

Five Dimensions of Patient Selection for Digital Health

1. Clinical and social suitability - which patient groups should the service be designed for?

2. Access and connectivity - network access may be a constraint for some populations.

3. Activation for self management - patients who are motivated and capable of self-management will be likely to overcome any technical challenges.

4. Health literacy - can be a factor in other types of digital health, less important for Telemedicine and video consultations.

5. IT literacy - can be an issue but can be overcome by good sytem design, training and IT support.

Not all of these may be relevant but this is a useful framework to use during the service design phase.

Factors to be considered in selecting patients for a digital health programme and determining which products or services are appropriate ©University of Cumbria