Staff acceptance of a telemedicine intensive care unit program: a qualitative study

Jane Moeckli, Peter Cram, Cassie Cunningham, Heather Schacht Reisinger
Journal of Critical Care 2013, 28 (6): 890-901

PURPOSE: We conducted an evaluation to identify factors related to intensive care unit (ICU) staff acceptance of a telemedicine ICU (Tele-ICU) program in preimplementation and postimplementation phases.

METHODS: Individual or group semistructured interviews and site observations were conducted with staff from the Veterans Affairs Midwest Health Care Network Tele-ICU and affiliated ICUs. A qualitative content analysis of preimplementation and postimplementation transcripts and field notes was undertaken to identify themes positively and negatively influencing Tele-ICU acceptance.

RESULTS: Telemedicine ICU training, Tele-ICU understanding, perceived need, and organizational factors emerged as influencing acceptance of the Tele-ICU before implementation. After implementation, Tele-ICU understanding, impact on work systems, perceived usefulness, and relationships were factors influencing acceptance and utilization. Barriers to implementation included confusion about how to use the Tele-ICU, disruptions to communication and workflows, unmet expectations, and discomfort with being monitored. Facilitators included positive experiences, discovery of new benefits, and recognition of Tele-ICU staff as complementing bedside care.

CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine ICU implementation is complex. Time and resources should be allocated for local coordination, continuous needs assessment for Tele-ICU support, staff training, developing interpersonal relationships, and systems design and evaluation. Such efforts are likely to be rewarded with more rapid staff acceptance of this new technology.

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