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Type: Journal article
Title: A qualitative study of ethical, medico-legal and clinical governance matters in Australian telehealth services
Author: Wade, V.
Eliott, J.
Hiller, J.
Citation: Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 2012; 18(2):109-114
Publisher: Royal Soc Medicine Press Ltd
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1357-633X
Statement of
Victoria A Wade, Jaklin A Eliott and Janet E Hiller
Abstract: We examined how Australian telehealth service providers perceived and addressed ethical, medico-legal and clinical governance matters arising from service delivery. Thirty-seven telehealth clinicians and managers were interviewed and a qualitative content analysis was conducted. The services covered six Australian jurisdictions and a range of clinical disciplines. There were 11 medical specialities, surgery, mental health, paediatrics, nursing and allied health. Thirty services (83%) used video consulting and 25 (68%) delivered services to rural areas. Telehealth was reported to be beneficial by reducing adverse events, improving health outcomes, offering increased patient choice of service delivery, and improving access to services for rural areas and home care. There were observations of gains or no change in patient-provider rapport compared to face-to-face communication, with some patients reportedly preferring video. Those interviewed reported some problems with privacy and security, and variable informed consent practices. No examples of malpractice were raised, although there was a common misperception that distant providers were not responsible for clinical care. With respect to clinical governance, telehealth was seen as enabling improved quality, integration and implementation of evidence-based care, and to be a major support for the rural health workforce. Although there were potential ethical, medico-legal and governance problems in Australian telehealth services, these had been easily managed in practice.
Keywords: Humans; Physician-Patient Relations; Telemedicine; Qualitative Research; Privacy; Informed Consent; Liability, Legal; Malpractice; Health Personnel; Rural Population; Risk Management; Health Services Accessibility; Australia; Interviews as Topic; Clinical Governance
Rights: © 2012 Royal Society of Medicine Press Limited
RMID: 0020117273
DOI: 10.1258/jtt.2011.110808
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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